At a recent
meeting, the Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission committed to paving the
parking lots at the Town hall and Lakeland Park.
The RDC’s funds,
which are mainly from Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue, are required by
Indiana law to be used for public works projects that benefit the residents
of the TIF district and facilities they use.
RDC member Ray
Poparad suggested the RDC fund the projects, and said he will bring more
information regarding proposals and quotes to the next meeting.
In other business,
Poparad also suggested RDC should put the brakes on spending on the
Marquette Greenway Trail until Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers hears back
about a grant that could fund phase 2 of the trail, west of Ind. 149 to
Portage. The grant application is due Feb. 15.
Poparad is new to
the RDC, but after seeing how much the Town as a whole spent on engineering
costs last year, he thinks the RDC should slow down.
“I think we just
need to finish up the application process to get approved, and that’s all
the cost we need to incur at this time. I don’t know how the rest of the
Board feels, but that’s my take on it,” said Poparad.
Jane Jordan prepared a list of the Town’
Rongers said the
RDC is essentially waiting, since there isn’t any spending for the Greenway
that can be put on hold. The only ongoing cost is periodic environmental
assessments by SEH of Indiana. To have National Lakeshore approval for the
trail, those must continue as scheduled.
As for other
engineering costs, Jeff Oltmanns of Global Engineering has been working on
reducing the size of an easement BP has over a pipeline that runs along one
side of Food Truck Square. Oltmanns said he’s near reaching an agreement to
reduce the easement from 200 feet to 50 feet and outlining what can and
cannot be built near the pipeline. A clear agreement on the easement is also
important for the future development of the 28 attached acres the Town is
about to close on buying from Duneland Schools.
RDC President Eric
Hull said he’s on the same page with Poparad about the cost of that project,
though. “I understand it to be a thousands of dollars project, not a tens of
thousands of dollars project. If it is a tens of thousands of dollars
project, then we have a problem.”
RDC member and Town
Council member Toni Biancardi said engineering is one of the RDC’s biggest
expenses just by the nature of its work planning and encouraging
development. Though the money has to be spent, Biancardi said the Commission
carefully directs what work its vendors perform and proceeds based on not to
exceed figures rather than estimates whenever possible. “I think we’re all
on the same page that our vendors need to have clear directions so we’re
being responsible with our funds,” Biancardi said.