Chesterton Tribune



Public hearing set for Airport TIF; Cole presses for Liberty Township TIF

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The Porter County Redevelopment Commission heard another plea from Liberty Twp. resident Tim Cole to establish a tax increment finance (TIF) district along the U.S. 6 corridor and as the commission met last week advance the proposed TIF area at the Porter County Regional Airport.

Before Cole spoke, RDC president Ric Frataccia reported that the County Plan Commission voted in favor of the declaratory resolution 7-1 to create of a TIF district consisting of the airport and the surrounding areas near Ind. 49 and U.S. 30 covering nearly six square miles. It also includes industrial zoned land close to Washington Twp. School on Ind. 2. Legal consultant Gregg Sobkowski said the declaratory resolution will now move to the County Commissioners and will be heard at their upcoming meeting on March 4 at 1 p.m.

The declaratory resolution is required to move forward with a confirmatory resolution finally approving the designation of a TIF zone. That would require a public hearing, Sobkowski said.

Frataccia and the other RDC members present Š Bob Thompson, Dave Burrus and County Council member Jim Polarek, R-4th Š voted to schedule the public hearing for Thursday, April 17, contingent on the Commissioners’ approval of the declaratory resolution. At the suggestion of Polarek, the hearing will be held in the evening at 6 p.m. rather than at 8:30 a.m. for the convenience of those wanting to speak.

The Airport district would be the first TIF district in unincorporated Porter County.

New assessed value from development in the TIF zone would generate revenue for the Redevelopment Commission for infrastructure or other public projects serving the area. The County RDC has agreed to allow 40 percent of the new tax revenue to go to existing taxing units including the East Porter County School Corporation.

Thompson said County Planners want to focus on projects specifically related to the airport such as runway expansions. About $30 million in potential projects have been identified in the airport master plan.

Liberty Twp. TIF

In the public comment portion of the meeting, Cole presented his statement formally requesting the RDC restart the discussion on a TIF area in Liberty Twp. that includes the Porter Regional Hospital campus.

Cole said more of his neighbors, about 20 or so, have also taken an interest in seeing that the RDC get going on that particular TIF district.

Originally opposed to the idea because of what harm it could do to the Duneland Schools, Cole said residents have changed their minds seeing how the RDC is cooperating with the East Porter County schools and believe having a TIF would bring managed growth to Liberty Township.

“That’s what we’re looking for in Liberty Township. We think what you have done for Washington Twp. has pretty well done that,” he said. “I think you have a well developed plan.”

Cole, who also represents the Woodville Foundation, said he feels there is great potential for new businesses in the shelved economic development plan for the area between Meridian Rd. and Calumet Ave. The north/south boundaries include CR 900N and CR 700N. The TIF would also include the entire section of the U.S. 6 corridor plan.

He said he and the other supporters would like to see the character of the area shift from “rural to business community.”

Frataccia said the commission will consider Cole’s request.





Posted 2/24/2014