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.
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
“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
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
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
“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.
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
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
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.