The assembly permit
for the Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission’s Food Truck Square was
approved on Wednesday for 2017 and the RDC is now talking about the next
step in creation of a “gateway park” on the four-acre Westport Rd. site.
Scott Kutcha, of
the Town’s engineering firm Global Engineering, presented a conceptual plan
based on the suggestions made by the RDC earlier this year, and the
strategic development plan by consultant LiveWorkLearnPlay.
With a projected
cost of about $1 million, the plans show a new triangular entrance and exit
on Westport Rd. that would flow into a curved boulevard leading into a
parking lot on the east end of the site.
In the middle would
be the park itself with four spots for circular seating, a park shelter with
a canopy, berm landscaping and a small sledding hill, a flag pole and an
optional light and water feature.
Closer to Haglund
Rd. on the west side of the parking area is where an amphitheater could go
which Kutcha said would be a cost-effective way to create seating for
community events. He also talked about putting in concrete sidewalks on the
There will be some
space to the north where the RDC can still hold its food truck square, he
The main idea would
be to develop an entrance to the 25 acres to the west that would serve as
the future downtown area, Kutcha said. The Town signed a three-year purchase
agreement in February to acquire the land from the Duneland School
Corporation, the parcel’s current owner, for $242,500 total.
“There has been a
whole host of ideas over the years and last few months about the future of
this four-acre site. There are things that could really ground this and make
this place a real asset for community,” said Kutcha.
RDC President and
Town Council member Marcus Rogala said last month that there are no definite
plans for the adjacent 25 acres. The Town cannot develop the land until it
is fully acquired in 2019.
Food Truck season
Rogala said the
schedule for the 2017 season of the Food Truck Square is complete. A copy is
on the Burns Harbor Food Truck Square’s Facebook Page.
Vendors will be
offering food on Wednesday nights through June, July, August, and part of
September, with a few special events on the weekends. The last event will be
the Brew-Ah brewfest on Nov. 11 to support veterans.
Five vendors are
signed and there is interest from others, Rogala said. He is also looking
for businesses interested in sponsoring the events.
The RDC agreed 4-0
to pay $800 to have a tent at the upcoming Northwest Indiana Food Truck
Festival in Portage on Saturday, June 17 to talk with more vendors.
In a related
matter, the RDC, with the support of the Town Council, will submit a grant
application to the Porter County Community Foundations Art grant for up to
$5,000. If successful, the grant would fund having a local graffiti artist
create signage for the Square.
Earlier in the
meeting, the RDC looked at different routes where the planned Marquette
Greenway Trail could go as it reaches the Little Calumet River near U.S. 12
and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Higgins of SEH Inc. said there is a north route and a south route that could
be built. An engineering study revealed the north route presents a lot of
challenges due to wetlands.
Both routes would
likely require an inclined board walk over the river since the elevation
difference between the south and north embankments is about 30 feet.
The south route
would have some advantages but would be initially more costly, about
$500,000 extra. Because there aren’t as many crossings moving forward with
the south route, it is likely to save money in the long run.
The Town has been
working with the Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission and other
municipalities like Portage and Porter to provide a 80/20 match for a grant
to fund the development of the Trail.
After a long
discussion, the RDC agreed 4-0 to choose the south route. RDC member and
Town Council member Eric Hull said he liked it that the route would tie in
closer to the trails in the Town of Porter and not having to build a bridge
over the Norfolk railroad.
was RDC member Nick Loving.
Higgins said he
appreciates the consensus as he is working on a schedule to complete
assessments this summer and he can now begin discussing the route with NIRPC
and the National Lakeshore.
“This is going to
make this month a lot easier. Thank you,” he said.
County Recycling and Waste Reduction District Director Therese Haller gave
the RDC two large rain barrels it received from the Community Rain Barrel
Demonstration grant, through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and
the Lake Michigan Coastal Grant.
The barrels are to
be placed in green space areas and educate the public on water management.
The RDC can keep them as long as they complete annual reports, Haller said.
The RDC will meet
on Wednesday, June 7, next month since the Town Council meeting was also
moved to that date.