Chesterton Tribune



INDOT lowers speeds on 149 to 45 mph near Burns Harbor food truck square

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Motorists should take note to watch their speed the entire stretch of Ind. 149 between U.S. 20 and U.S. 12 through Burns Harbor.

The speed limit now is 45 miles per hour the whole way through, a change recently made by the Indiana Department of Transportation. The speed limit had previously been 55 miles per hour north of Interstate 94 passing by the Town Hall and Westport Rd.

The change is a step in making the area safer for pedestrians crossing over into the developing downtown area where the Redevelopment Commission is hosting its Food Truck Square which will be starting its 2017 season in June.

RDC President Marcus Rogala said Wednesday he thought the limit wasn’t supposed to be changed until the end of the month but was glad to see it was done. He said he will have discussions with INDOT officials on potentially putting in a crosswalk based on their traffic studies.

Meanwhile, Town Marshal Mike Heckman said the reduction has raised the ire of drivers not noticing it and receiving speeding tickets.

“They’re still going the same speeds. Some 70 to 80 miles per hour,” he told the Town Council later. Some have made accusations that the Town lowered the limit “just to make a whole lot of money.”

In reality, Heckman said, the Town only receives $4 per ticket. The rest of the money, about $140, goes to other agencies, with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office getting most of it.

“It cannot go back into the Town’s general fund. It goes into a local law enforcement fund which is for training or we can buy equipment with it and that’s it. You can’t even use payroll on it. We don’t even get that money back to pay for the paper we write the tickets,” Heckman said.

RDC Consultant Tina Rongers said the speed limit will also provide safety when the Marquette Greenway Trail is constructed. She and Rogala will also be speaking to INDOT on that topic soon, and the needed environmental assessments.

Food trucks

For the Food Truck Square at the corner of Haglund Rd. and Westport Rd., Rogala said that more vendors have turned in paperwork to be part of the season and the calendar is almost full.

There will be a Northwest Indiana Festival this year in Portage on Saturday, June 17, Rogala said, and he will be in attendance to see if any of the vendors there would be interested in selling at the Burns Harbor square.

The RDC will host its next Better Burns Harbor Night for businesses in Burns Harbor on Wednesday, June 28 during a food truck event where a discussion will take place about a vision for the town. Rogala added that the event will be open to the public as well.

Helping to coordinate the Food Truck Square will be resident Mellissa Graves who will be paid as an independent contractor through Ronger’s company Karnerblue.

DEDC facade grant

In other business, RDC member Toni Biancardi said that the Duneland Economic Development Commission is making its facade grant available to businesses in the community. It is a matching grant for exterior improvements.

The grant is up to $5,000 and the application is due at the end of May, she said.

Rongers said the Office of Community and Rural Affairs is offering a quick impact place-based grant for a $2,500 to $5,000 match for communities like Burns Harbor. The grant could bring some art pieces or a banner to the Food Truck Square that could serve as signage.


RDC Communications Director Danielle Ziulkowski said the press release sent on Monday, March 10 that identified the economic and community goals for the Town garnered some media attention.

Within minutes of the release, Indiana 105 FM asked for Burns Harbor leaders to talk about its developments on the radio, Ziulkowski said. The radio station gave an interview with Rogala and Rongers on March 20 and the audio will be available on the Burns Harbor Town website, she said.

“We got to talk about some great things we want for the town,” she said.

Ziulkowski and the RDC gave kudos to the Town’s sanitation clerk, Corinne Peffers, for “going above and beyond her daily duties” by lending her design talents to create the 50th anniversary banner.

“We now have this historical and prideful image with this great collage,” said Ziulkowski. “(Peffers) is an amazing designer.”

The banner is on the Town’s website now and will be added to its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Rogala commended Peffers for also designing the sponsor sheet.

Schools superintendent

RDC non-voting member and Duneland School Board Representative Brandon Kroft in his report informed his colleagues that the school board has been busy holding meetings, eight total, for this month on finding the next schools superintendent to replace David Pruis when he retires on June 30.

“It’s an active process and I hope people will recognize we are doing this in a dynamic way,” said Kroft. “It’s probably the most important thing we do as a school board, in my opinion.

Kroft said the board received about 900 responses from the community survey seeking input from the residents.



Posted 4/14/2017




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