Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor TIF Board eyes matching grant for Haglund Trail

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The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission is pursuing a grant that could fund 80 percent of the cost of the Haglund Trail--which would create a safe pedestrian connection between Lakeland Park and the site of Food Truck Square.

At its meeting last night, the Commission approved Jeff Oltmanns from Global Engineering to start the application for the grant, which is an 80/20 match through federal block grant funds managed by the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Committee (NIRPC). The grant is specifically aimed at municipalities looking to expand their trails or draw together different areas.

The RDC previously discussed making the Haglund Trail a priority in June 2018, but it was put on the back burner to fund Town ambulance service and an addition to the Fire Department. Planning on the trail was initiated in 2017, and Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers reported she had estimated $600,000 for the project in her long-term planning spreadsheet.

The Trail would run along Haglund Road, and would serve to better connect Lakeland Park and its surrounding neighborhoods to Westport Road, which runs along the side of the Food Truck Square site and is just across Ind. 149 from the Town Hall. The Commission members noted that it could be connected to the future Burns Harbor arm of the Marquette Greenway Trail, and it could tie into any new development at Food Truck Square and the attached Duneland School Corporation parcel the Town is buying.

This past fall, the RDC released a request for qualifications (RFQ) for master developers who would be interested in building an updated town complex or town community center that would maintain or enhance the character of Food Truck Square on the four-acre Food Truck Square site and the adjoining 28 acres the Town is buying from the Duneland School Corporation. The purchase will be complete next month, and next month the RDC will hear from its committee on the RFQ whether or not the developers who submitted satisfy the requirements.

Residents already appear to want more trails, and new development could increase pedestrian and bike traffic in the future. The results of the RDC Town-wide survey that garnered an 11 percent rate of response in October show respondents were in support of trails connecting subdivisions and neighborhoods, with 65 percent saying trails were either important or very important to them. Another 60 percent of respondents said they currently don’t feel safe from traffic while riding bikes or walking along main roads in Town, many of which do not have sidewalks.

“From the construction side, it’s the same, but from a doing standpoint, there’s some paperwork involved that adds to it,” Oltmanns said, noting some of the planning work done for the Haglund Trail doesn’t measure up to the federal standards dictating the dispersal of the grant funds. The site will need a more extensive environmental evaluation, for one, in order for the application to be complete.

RDC President Eric Hull said Global estimated the work required for the application would amount to 24 hours of professional services to the tune of $3,480.

If awarded, the funds would be available between 2021 and 2024, Rongers said. “That 20 percent match would be out in your 2021 budget or further.”

“The way I look at it, if we apply for it and don’t get it, we’re on the radar. If we apply and get it, we have a new trail,” Hull said.

The Commission approved Oltmanns to start work on the application, with the stipulation that Global’s work not exceed the estimate.



Posted 1/10/2019




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