Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor Council agrees to buy school property

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The Town of Burns Harbor will acquire 25 additional acres on Haglund Rd. belonging to the Duneland School Corporation as the Town Council voted 5-0 Wednesday to accept the purchase agreement.

The purchase will be made in three payments totaling $242,500 from the Redevelopment Commission’s budget which receives its funds from the tax increment finance district. Half of the amount is to be paid in 30 days while the other 50 percent will be paid in two installments before the closing date of Feb. 28, 2019, according to the agreement.

Town Attorney Clay Patton said there may be some additional costs for the last year from the title company. The school corporation plans to lease the land for farming in 2017 and 2018 and will maintain the right to collect lease money for those years, he said. The Town can start developing after that.

The Duneland School Board for its part agreed unanimously to the purchase agreement at its meeting Monday.

Council member and RDC President Marcus Rogala had told the Chesterton Tribune the main reason for the purchase is to promote economic growth for the Town’s vision of its downtown area at Haglund Rd. and Ind. 149. It will expand the four acres there that the Town already owns.

Although there are no definitive plans yet, Rogala said the RDC believes this will show its dedication to growth and draw interest from potential developers.

Without much discussion from the Council Wednesday, member Eric Hull made the motion to accept the agreement which was agreed to by his colleagues.

Rogala said the Council had discussed the purchase of the land in closed executive sessions, which is why the agreement had not been discussed in public before. Indiana Code lists negotiations for government land purchases as one of the reasons local governments can meet in executive session.

New Council member

Council President Ray Poparad welcomed Kevin Tracy to the Council. Tracy was appointed by Porter County Republican Party Chairman Michael Simpson last month to replace Andy Bozak who is now the 1st District Representative on the Porter County Council.

The Council voted 5-0 to allow Tracy to take Bozak’s vacant seat on the Redevelopment Commission. Rogala said he had received an application from former RDC member Brad Enslen expressing interest in being on the RDC again, but he recommended Tracy since he is a Town Council member.

Poparad said that Bozak had sent a letter resigning his RDC seat. Another letter he received was from Republican Crystal Westphal resigning her seat on the Advisory Plan Commission.

Since Tracy is also the precinct committeeman for the Republicans, he will ask that Tracy suggest a replacement for Westphal.

Police promotion

Also, the Council voted 5-0 on Police Chief Mike Heckman’s request to appoint Officer Jeremy McHargue as assistant police chief. Poparad also made McHargue a member of the Plan Commission since he is a resident and a Town employee.

Meanwhile, Council member Toni Biancardi announced that Officer Tim Lucas recently had his third anniversary as an officer for the town.

Park events

Park Board President Amanda Sucku told the Council that the Parks Department will host a family movie night from 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday with a showing of “The Secret Life of Pets” at Lakeland Park. Also this month, Lego Club will be from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19 and Cupcakes and Canvas will be on Sunday, Feb. 26 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

Looking forward, Saturday, April 15 is when the department will hold its regular Easter Egg Hunt and another for special needs children.

Biancardi commented that residents are enjoying the new park equipment.


The Council tabled its motion to pay $3,600 in dues for membership this year in the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns after learning that the amount is higher than Chesterton’s and Porter’s dues.

Poparad said he would like to know why that is and said he and Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan will look into the matter before next meeting.


Jordan told the Council that State Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, has selected Burns Harbor to receive 100 tree seedlings this year from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The Town may choose different quantities of trees up to 25 each.

Poparad asked that Fire Chief Bill Arney and Street Superintendent Pat Melton help give input on where to plant them. The order is due at the end of this month, Jordan said.

Design standards workshop

In the Good of the Order of the Community, Biancardi said that the Plan Commission will be holding a public workshop on Monday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. at the Town Hall to review and gather input on its proposed minimum design standards for commercial structures.

There will be a presentation made by Global Engineering of the different options being proposed.

Following the workshop, the Plan Commission plans to hold a public hearing at its March meeting to approve the standards for the Town Code. The final proposal will be voted on by the Town Council.



Posted 2/9/2017




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