Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor RDC to pave Town hall and Lakeland park lots; members talk money

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At a recent meeting, the Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission committed to paving the parking lots at the Town hall and Lakeland Park.

The RDCs 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 thats all the cost we need to incur at this time. I dont know how the rest of the Board feels, but thats my take on it, said Poparad.

Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan prepared a list of the Towns 2018 engineering costs. Poparad was disturbed that the total was over half a million dollars--$535,247.64 to be specific. $383,107.64 of the total was for RDC projects.

Rongers said the RDC is essentially waiting, since there isnt 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 hes 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 hes 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 RDCs 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 were all on the same page that our vendors need to have clear directions so were being responsible with our funds, Biancardi said.


Posted 1/18/2019




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