out of Indianapolis, will handle the engineering design on two
County-maintained bridges that are scheduled to be reconstructed in 2024.
The Porter County
Board of Commissioners approved bringing on United as the design engineer
for bridges 131 and 149 at its meeting yesterday.
County Planner Bob
Thompson said bridge 131 (200 W over Damon Run) and bridge 149 (Waverly Road
over the Little Calumet River, in Porter) are both in the County’s bridge
inventory as needing attention. With sufficiency ratings below 50%, they
both qualify for Federal Highway Administration funding, which is managed
through the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) per a contract with
United is the same company that does bridge inspections in Porter County,
and United was chosen from a pool of five proposals for bridge 131 and from
a pool of nine for bridge 149.
The Department of
Development and Stormwater Management first solicited letters of interest,
then reviewed proposals from qualified entities. Thompson, County Engineer
Mike Novotney, Senior Highway Engineer Matt Gavelek, and Highway
Superintendent Rich Sexton worked together to score the respondents based on
INDOT criteria. United scored highest for the projects.
Thompson said work
on the bridges could start anytime after July 1, 2023--the beginning of
INDOT’s 2024 fiscal year. Bridge 149 could be closed longer than bridge 131
because the adjoining pedestrian bridge adds complexity to the repair,
according to Thompson.
Gavelek reported 12
of the County’s 132 bridges are currently under design.
Development and Stormwater business, the Commissioners approved Thompson to
pull the letter of credit in the Department’s deal with Budz Plus, LLC for
paving in the Tower Meadows subdivision.
Budz Plus, LLC
agreed to finish paving in the Tower Meadows subdivision by May 31. The
agreement was backed up with a written commitment and letter of credit from
BMO Harris bank that was presented to the Commissioners at their December
Laura Blaney (D) asked if the group has made any progress on the paving.
Thompson said they haven’t, and his attempts to reach their attorney have
Jeff Good (R-Center) asked about the ownership of lots in the subdivision.
County Attorney Scott McClure said Budz Plus, LLC only owns one lot in the
subdivision, and sold the rest of its holdings there to Olthof Homes.
Both Thompson and
McClure said they can’t recall the last time the County had to pull a letter
of credit to get work done.
The Board also
approved the Kankakee Valley Historical Society to apply for an Indiana
Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) Brownfield grant with the
County acting as its fiscal agent.
president of local consultant firm Karnerblue, is working with KVHS on
obtaining grants to help grow the organization as a tourist destination in
south Porter County. Rongers said the last time the County partnered with
KVHS, also as its fiscal agent for OCRA funds, everything went smoothly.
KVHS will provide the local match for the grant, if awarded, and do all the
legwork on the project this time around, as it did last time, according to
KVHS President John
Hodson said the grant funds sought this time are for disassembling the
historic Collier Lodge. The original parts form the building will be stored
while the group builds up funds for restoring it.
Hodson said KVHS
has a vision of a recreation area with restored historical buildings and
potentially miles of trails along the Kankakee River on Porter County’s
southern border. He said the organization is interested in partnering with
the County Parks Department.
“We have plans for
a much bigger, more comprehensive site down there. We’re more than just a
preservation organization,” Hodson said.
Jim Biggs (R) praised Hodson’s work and the KVHS property. “It really is
becoming a jewel for the County to have, especially if it ends up with our
County Park Department managing it,” Biggs said.