Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor RDC president eyes bonding for projects

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Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission members on Wednesday agreed by consensus that its president, Town Council member Marcus Rogala, should seek details on how the RDC may be able to bond for developments at the new downtown area.

Rogala said this could be the solution for getting three projects completed which will tie in together at the Westport Rd. and Haglund Rd. intersection -- the crosswalk across Ind. 49, the gateway plaza on the four-acre Westport site and a trail or walkway along Haglund Rd.

“We said when we got elected, one of the things we would like to do is tie the town together,” Rogala said, adding that the intent is to make the area walkable for pedestrians. “We’ve been talking about these things for about a year and a half. I would like for something to get done.”

Town engineers at Global Engineering have figured the estimated costs for the crosswalk and plaza and should have estimates for the walkway or trail completed soon, Rogala said. He then intends to talk to the Town’s financial consultant, Umbaugh & Associates, on what the RDC can bond for.

Town Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan said last year Umbaugh indicated that the Town could bond for around $4 million. Rogala said that “so far we are way under that.” The plaza development would be roughly $800,000, with the goal being to stay under $1 million, Rogala said. In December, Global Engineering said the worst-case scenario for the crosswalk, that included a traffic light, would be about $1.5 million.

Concept plans for the plaza last month showed parking areas, seating, a boulevard entrance and outdoor amphitheater, but Rogala said nothing is “set in stone” yet.

RDC member Kevin Tracy said he would support moving forward and getting the walkway done but urged that residents on Haglund Rd. that would be impacted should be contacted first.

“I want to make sure they are happy with it because it is going to be right in front of their properties,” Tracy said.

Food Truck season starts

Meanwhile at the Westport site, Wednesday was opening night for the Food Truck Square with a large turnout of cars while the meeting was going on.

Rogala said he has been getting more interest from food truck vendors since bringing on Monica Jimenez-Susoreny as the new coordinator who has worked with Northwest Indiana Food Truck Festival.

“My goal is to take the relationships that I have and really bring exposure to the food track square here. A lot of people go where the food trucks are,” she told the RDC.

One addition that Jimenez-Susoreny will bring are more craft breweries to food truck nights. For the arts night, she hopes to bring 20 craft vendors along with a graffiti artist to sell merchandise and for the kids takeover night with sweets and candy, she is also working to bring in a candy manufacturer.

The board voted 4-0 to ratify Jimenez-Suroreny as the coordinator who will work under the contract with consultant Karnerblue at $1,200 monthly.

“I move that we get Monica on board with this because I think we got the right person,” Tracy said.

Communications Director Danielle Ziulkowski said she will also work to promote the square during its run this season by taking pictures and uploading them to social media.

“My goal is to really tie into the food track square with the overall identity of Burns Harbor,” she said.

Rogala said costs for the square this year have been under budget.

The RDC will host a Better Burns Harbor night on Wednesday, June 28, at the Food Truck Square for local elected officials and businesses. The event will included updates on the Town’s master development plan and how businesses can work with the RDC on it.

Marquette Greenway Trail

In other business, the RDC will suggest forming an interlocal agreement with the neighboring towns of Portage and Porter for a cost-effective approach on the preliminary design and engineering of the Marquette Regional Trail.

“If they come on board now, those communities could have a cost savings of approximately $100,000 doing a collaborative approach instead of doing the work that has already been done,” said consultant Tina Rongers of Karnerblue.

Rongers said the bigger reason for collaborating efforts is there will be a stronger push for funding from regional agencies that can give grants like the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission.

Rongers also said that in recent meetings with NIRPC and the National Lakeshore, both agencies are on board with the amended alignment recommended by the Burns Harbor RDC last month to take the trail south along the Little Calumet River instead of north.

Town Picnic

At the end of the meeting, the RDC voted to donate $4,000 to the Town Picnic for fireworks. The picnic will be Saturday, Aug. 26.

Jordan said that the RDC is estimated to receive $100,000 from the agreement it has with ArcelorMittal for its tax abatement, which will come all at once in the June tax draw or half now and half in the December tax draw.



Posted 6/9/2017




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