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