Chesterton Tribune

Developer eyes replacing trailer park with hotel and restaurants in Burns Harbor

Back to Front Page






The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission is mulling what to do about a developer who tentatively wants to purchase Rainbow Trailer Park, demolish the site and build a hotel and three restaurants there.

Commission president Cliff Fleming said talks with town officials have been very preliminary; the Minnesota developer also inquired what kind of incentives might be on the table for discussion. “We don’t really know what he’s proposing.”

The site is at the Interstate 94 interchange with U.S. 20 on the west side of North Babcock Road across from the Comfort Inn in Porter.

Redevelopment Commission member Mike Perrine said the timing’s bad to enter into detailed discussions now over a hotel project.

He and fellow Town Council member Jim McGee are unopposed for re-election, but the three other council seats are up for grabs Nov. 8. Members Toni Biancardi, Louis Bain and Fleming chose not to run again. Bain and McGee were absent Wednesday.

Perrine said he doesn’t think anyone would want to bind the town to anything before the election, and the matter should be addressed in January. Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan said the developer was informed a new Town Council will be seated then.

Perrine said the best place to start is at the town Sanitary Board to confirm the amount of sewage capacity the project would require. Otherwise, he said the site is a prime location.

Arney said the developer was looking to the town for help in dealing with the large amount of infrastructure removal and relocation at the trailer park, which is owned by Jacob Pasternak; he and the town have been involved in litigation over code violations, and some Rainbow residents approached the council previously about unsatisfactory conditions there.

From the audience, resident Beverly Sutton noted she has 8.96 acres adajcent to the trailer park that’s available.

Fleming said he’ll contact the developer and explain the town’s position. “I don’t think it’s a matter of (putting the project on) the back burner. It’s determining what cooperation the new council wants to give him,” he commented after the meeting.

U.S. 12 traffic signs

Meeting as the Town Council, members directed Street Department superintendent Randy Skalku to install at town expense signs on both sides of U.S. 12 warning “Hidden driveway ahead” and “Hidden driveway, do not block.”

Last month a resident near the east entrance to ArcelorMittal said she and her neighbor can’t get in or out of their shared driveway safely due to backed-up traffic, many semi-trucks, waiting to enter the steel mill.

Skalku said the Indiana Department of Transportation wouldn’t agree to put up the signs.

Sanitation superintendent Bill Arney said the town is trying to track the source of a sewer odor in the Haglund area. The lines will be cleaned and scanned with a camera, followed by possible smoke testing. Residents would be notified prior if that occurs.

As building commissioner, Arney said a lawsuit over a code violation for property on Castle Street was resolved in the town’s favor. He noted a former town police car has been outfitted with the town logo for use by his department, and building-permit applications have been filed for upscale apartments in The Village subdivision.

Oct. 22 spaghetti fundraiser

Arney, its chief, said the town Fire Department will host its fourth annual spaghetti dinner Oct. 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Navajo Trail fire station. Tickets are available from any firefighter or at the door. Biancardi said children especially enjoy the event to see fire vehicles on display.

Cost is $6 for adults, children 3 and under eat free, and carry-outs are $1 extra. Said Arney, “We’re looking forward to it. The town takes care of us well and we want to give something back to the community.”

In September the department responded to 18 calls spending 12 hours 28 minutes on emergencies. Firefighters spent 149.5 total hours on training and station duty. Fire vehicles traveled 126 miles.

Town marshal Jerry Price reported his department had 326 calls to service last month; made one felony and two misdemeanor arrests; wrote 25 tickets, 62 warning tickets and issued 25 verbal warnings. Police cars traveled 7,835 miles and three accidents resulted in property damage only.

Price said the Sept. 3 death of long-time Shift Change Tap bartender Sheri Jania, who was dragged beneath a vehicle resulting in reckless homicide charges against James Lohman III, was not listed as a vehicle crash for statistical purposes.

Perrine said even though Jania, 45, wasn’t a town resident, she was employed in Burns Harbor so was a part of the community. Price said a recent fundraiser at the Shift Change on U.S. 20 was a fitting tribute and raised enough to cover Jania’s funeral expenses.

In other business:

•Children’s Halloween trick-or-treat was set for Oct. 31 from 5 to 7 p.m., the same as Chesterton and Porter.

•By a 3-0 vote the council adopted its $2.528 million proposed budget for 2012. Jordan said the town’s net assessed valuation dropped by $10 million. The new Town Council will consider whether to give employee raises in January.

•At least one appoinment on most town boards and commissions expires Dec. 31; residents interested in serving are urged to submit an application to Jordan.

•Biancardi said lifeguarded swimming at Lakeland Park is closed for the season, and a schedule of fall/winter activities will be announced.

•Oct. 20 is the year’s final big garbage day when large items will be taken along with refuse collection. The year’s last brush pick-up is Oct. 31.

•It was announced the town’s Trail Creek subdivision will be featured in an upcoming issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

•During public comment Jack Given asked for written verification of the Internal Revenue Service’s position Jordan has adopted regarding the tax implications of take-home police cars. Rick Hummel said she’s trying to protect the town and its employees.



Posted 10/13/2011