Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor RDC pursuing federal grant for Marquette Greenway

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The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission gave Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers the go ahead to apply for an 80/20 matching grant for the Burns Harbor portion of the Marquette Greenway at its meeting Wednesday night.

Rongers asked for permission to apply for the grant, which is through the U.S Department of Transportation’s Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and provides an 80/20 match on selected projects. The application is due May 1 and, if selected, the Town must pay a minimum of $50,000 on the project to be eligible for the match. She said the only hitch is that the trail route she proposes in the application cannot be changed if the money is awarded.

The route of the trail is still up in the air, as Rongers said SEH Engineering has been conducting environmental studies along the Little Calumet River in Town to determine the best route. “The original plan was to stay as close as possible to the Little Cal, from Babcock Road over to the town of Portage border. Through the CMAQ grant we have, we can fund from Babcock essentially to the Meadowbrook area.”

Rongers referred to the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant the Town already has for its portion of the Marquette Greenway. The CMAQ grant will remain available if the route changes, but Rongers added, “The CMAQ money can’t get us all the way to Westport.”

Rongers said it would be beneficial to have the RTP grant while the Town is acquiring land for the trail anyway. Land acquisition, as well as many trail amenities that the Town has already planned for its portion of the Marquette Greenway, gives an applicant more points in the application for the RTP grant.

Board President Marcus Rogala noted, “Basically next month we’ll have to pick a route, otherwise we’ll be paying more for the environmental studies.” Board member Eric Hull, for his part, said the worst that could happen was that either the money won’t be awarded, or it won’t be available if the route is changed, and neither option is a step backwards from where the Town is now. Rogala agreed there was no harm is trying to acquire the grant.

The board will have to hold a public meeting to get input from residents as part of the application.

The board agreed on April 24 as the date for the public hearing.

Other Grants

Rongers also reported that her application for an Indiana Arts Commission grant on the Commission’s behalf was rejected due to a clerical error where it was submitted in the wrong category. She will be moving on to apply for a $5,000 Dunes Tourism grant that would help with arts programming and supplies at Food Truck Square. “We’ll be taking the lead on that and coordinating with Duneland Chamber,” she said.

Rongers noted that she has an internal evaluation process to review rejected grant applications and improve them for the future.




Posted 4/13/2018




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