residents want safer routes of travel around Town and appreciate Burns
Harbor’s small town feel, according to the results of the Redevelopment
Commission’s town survey.
Consultant Tina Rongers reported at the RDC meeting Wednesday that the
survey garnered 185 responses, about 11 percent of Town residents. Rongers
said 11 percent is a “really good rate in terms of statistical validity” for
a survey. She thanked the residents who spent time filling it out and helped
spread the word.
Among the main
takeaways, Rongers said, are that Burns Harbor residents enjoy the small
town feel of Burns Harbor. However, they are more split on what constitutes
that atmosphere. While 42 percent of respondents reported they’d like a
grocery store in Burns Harbor, interest in five other suggested types of
retail varied between only four and 15 percent. Some residents made extra
comments expressing that they moved to Burns Harbor because those stores
weren’t present, that adding more retail would reduce the small town feel,
and that people shouldn’t move to Burns Harbor if they want those amenities
in Town. Others said they would prefer to support the development of small
or local businesses over chains.
“There was a lot of
sense of urgency for how kids can safely get around town,” Rongers said.
Following that, there was a lot of support for trails and sidewalks. When
asked to rank the importance of trails that connect neighborhoods with other
neighborhoods or Lakeland Park, 41 percent of respondents said it was
extremely important, and another 24 percent said it was very important. 60
percent of respondents said they don’t feel safe at all or feel only a
little safe from traffic when riding a bike or walking around town. Comments
included concerns that respondents feel stuck in their subdivisions when out
walking and would like sidewalks along Ind. 149, U.S. 20, 200W, and Babcock
Respondents seem to
agree that the Town has an identity, but the green living theme of Food
Truck Square marketing efforts this year didn’t resonate with everyone. 40
percent of respondents said it had little or no meaning to them. Some
associated it with higher costs of living and expensive housing. Some
commenters recommended naming the Food Truck Square site Westport Park, and
the name Westport seemed to be valuable to respondents, though some people,
when asked about their general satisfaction with RDC efforts, suggested Food
Truck Square be abolished and questioned the existence of the RDC itself.
indicates that the Chesterton Tribune is Burns Harbor’s third
favorite outlet for local news, with the favor of 24 percent of respondents,
behind Facebook at 28 percent, and NWI Times at 27 percent.
Rongers and RDC
President Eric Hull were surprised about some of the issues brought up in
the survey, including some residents complaining of their children having
hour-long bus commutes to school or short power outages happening every week
in certain areas--the latter of which Commission members Kevin Tracy and
Brad Enslen said they experience in their neighborhoods.
Hull said the
results were interesting, but noted that the survey isn’t a replacement for
people coming to the Commission and making public comments.
They survey results
can be viewed here: