Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Burns Harbor TIF board eyes tree removal for portion of Marquette Greenway

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By LILY REX

The Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission (RDC) is going out for bids for tree removal along the route for Phase 1 of the Burns Harbor portion of the Marquette Greenway Trail.

The Burns Harbor portion of the Marquette Greenway will be built in three phases. Phases 2 and 3 are state-funded and the RDC will utilize federal grants for Phase 1. Phase 1 ends just north of U.S. 20 in the area of Beam Street and Babcock Road and extends just west of Stanley Street, according to RDC member Toni Biancardi.

Residents in that area can expect to see tree removal work in February and March. Biancardi said the Board is working to minimize the environmental impact of the removal. Biancardi wasnít sure how many trees will need to be removed, but said the removal will be limited. Trees have to be removed before March 31 to protect the Regionís bats, and stumps will be left behind to combat erosion.

The Board has to move quickly to have the work approved and finished by the end of March, so bids will be opened on Jan. 27 and awarded at a special RDC meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29.

In other Marquette Greenway business, Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers continues to coordinate with various entities such as the National Park Service and railroad and utility companies on easements related to the Trail. Biancardi reported everything is on track, and construction on Phase 3, which begins in Portage and ends in Burns Harbor at Ind. 149, is slated to begin this year.

Other Approvals

The Board approved an architectural services contract for Holladay Properties to do the 30 percent design work on the new town hall and community center building planned to be part of the Westport Development. Rongers told the Board at its last meeting that 30 percent design should allow the Board to solicit bids and get a fairly accurate estimate for cost of construction. The Board will make three payments of $9,500 for a total of $28,500 for architectural services, and related soil borings were approved not to exceed $7,000.

The Board also approved paying $50,000 to the Duneland School Corporation to make up for tax revenue the School doesnít collect because of Burns Harborís tax increment financing (TIF) district.

Biancardi said the Board is not yet ready to usher in a new method of calculating the contribution since a state-mandated shift in how school funds are organized made it impossible to calculate exactly how much capital project funding Duneland Schools doesnít collect because of the TIF district. That number used to be the basis for the Board contributing approximately $50,000 every February and August. State law permits the RDC to contribute up to 15% of its TIF funds.

Last month, the Board discussed disbursing the money in smaller amounts as a way to ensure it funds valuable programs rather than getting lost in DSCís budget. The Board is still mulling how that would work and has opted to make its regular payments in the meantime, according to Biancardi.

In other DSC business, RDC member Nick Loving will represent the RDC on the school improvement committee for Yost Elementary School.

 

 

Posted 1/9/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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