Chesterton Tribune

 

 

BH awarded arts grant to market Food Truck Square

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By LILY REX

The Burns Harbor Redevelop-ment Commission heard plans at its meeting Wednesday night to energize and diversify activity at the Food Truck Square.

The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) has awarded Burns Harbor a 50-hour creative placemaking consultancy to assist the town with marketing and event-planning at the Food Truck Square. The IAC began the grant program--the Open Scene consultancy--to help communities across Indiana incorporate art and culture into public spaces, and Burns Harbor is one of 13 municipalities awarded a 2018 consultancy.

Julie Warren, a marketing professional and native of Bloomington, will be paid by the IAC to spend 50 hours researching and collaborating with Karnerblue LLC consultant Tina Rongers and Commission President Marcus Rogala to plan new initiatives for Food Truck Square.

Warren outlined three goals for her consultancy in a handout to the commission: building support and engagement for Food Truck Square, incorporating arts and culture into Food Truck Square, and better marketing of Food Truck Square.

Among other things, Warren wants to explore creating a volunteer committee of residents who will help with events, by surveying visitors and businesses for feedback on events, marketing with social media blitzes, and meeting with the Porter County Convention, Recreation, and Visitors Commission. She emphasized that the nearby Dunes are a unique opportunity since they attract so many visitors in the warmer months. “It would be wonderful to capitalize on that and get some of those people in Burns Harbor,” Warren said.

At least 40 hours of Warren’s consultancy will be spent in Burns Harbor, and she will deliver written recommendations on Feb. 1.

Marquette Greenway Updates

In other business, the commission approved a $10,000 increase in its contract with engineering consulting firm SEH to cover the cost of additional field investigation on the proposed route of the Burns Harbor portion of the Marquette Greenway. In correspondence to Rogala, SEH Project Manager Adam Higgins wrote that a subconsultant of SEH, Soil Solutions Inc., has completed the wetland field investigation for the site of Phase 1 of the trail, between North Babcock Road and Ind. 49. Phase 2 of the trail, between Ind. 49 and Portage, however, will require more legwork.

One option is to keep the path on Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore property for its full length, but Soil Solutions has found highly saturated soil that is not conducive to construction along Phase 2 of the route. The contract increase will cover the cost of a wetland investigation on a portion of ArcelorMittal property, which could prove a better site for construction. Rogala is hopeful that ArcelorMittal may be willing to donate an easement or acreage for the project, as the property in question is currently for sale.

The town will consider new information after the investigation on Phase 2 is complete to decide if a change in the alignment of the trail is needed. According to Rogala, changing the alignment should be done sooner rather than later to save money on difficult construction and maintenance.

Business Incentives

Dan Botich of SEH was again present to discuss a Business Incentive Program that could promote commerce in town. The program’s focus: to encourage light manufacturing especially and develop strategies to help local business owners expand and sustain their work.

The plan will lay out levels of incentives available to businesses of different sizes. Incentives could be in the form of tax increment financing or tax abatements.

“The program allows for a guiding strategy for economic development,” said Botich, who’s been working on the plan with Karnerblue consultant Rongers.

 

 

Posted 11/13/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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