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