The Burns Harbor
Redevelopment Commission is keeping the wheels turning on its link in the
50-mile Marquette Greenway Trail.
The RDC agreed
Wednesday to have the engineering consulting firm SEH Inc. develop a scope
of work for the first phase, between North Babcock Rd. and Ind. 149. The
agreement also calls for exploring the costs and strategies for Phase 2 of
the trail, which will be a longer stretch between Ind. 149 and Ameriplex in
Tina Rongers, who
has been working as the RDC’s grants developer, said the funding for the
first phase is in place with a CMAQ (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality
Improvement) grant through the Northwest Indiana Regional Development
The Town’s match is
10 percent of the grant funds, said RDC President Marcus Rogala. According
to the Town’s Master Development and Revitalization Plan, the total cost of
the first phase between Babcock Rd. and Ind. 149 is $2,064,929.
An economic impact
study done in 2008 said the Trail would serve as an economic catalyst for
the Town, with a projected $90 million in future development and an
increased tax base of $2.8 million. It will connect the Town with the
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and other towns on its network.
Before the work can
move forward, there must be a Local Public Agency contract reached between
the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Town of Burns Harbor. Town
Attorney Clay Patton said he had not seen the contract before the meeting
but the RDC voted 5-0 to accept the contract once Patton completes his
review of it.
Rongers said LPA
contracts are standard agreements for INDOT projects.
SEH is under
contract for the project but the engineering plans will need to approved by
the Town’s engineering consultant Global Engineering, said RDC member Toni
Rogala said that
the RDC in September voted to accept the contract with SEH. Town
Clerk-Treasurer Jane Jordan sitting in on the meeting said she had not yet
received a copy of the signed contract. Rogala said he would get it to her
after the meeting.
“We need to start
moving forward,” said Rogala. “Phase one is ready. We just haven’t done
said that the INDOT is willing to “hand over” the stretch of Ind. 149
between U.S. 20 and U.S. 12 to the town to develop a downtown area but the
Town will be responsible for the costs of maintaining the roads.
INDOT will however
still be responsible for maintenance of the bridges, he said.
Rogala said the
Town does “not have enough” currently for INDOT to relinquish it now. More
planning is needed with how it would “dress up” or configure the new
downtown, such as putting in a crosswalk at Ind. 149 and Westport Rd.
RDC member Andy
Bozak asked if the Town would be able to get more funding from the state to
help support the maintenance. Rogala said if that is so, the funding would
likely go to the County first which then would distribute it to the Town.
about developing the area in a phased approach and seeking out different
grant funds for pedestrian friendly features.
The purpose of the
Ind. 149 relinquishment is so the Town can control speed limits and traffic
to make the downtown safer and more attractive to residents and visitors.
The RDC this past summer launched its Food Truck Square at Westport Rd. and
Haglund Rd. as the first major step towards creating the downtown.
The RDC will plan a
workshop tentatively in December to discuss the results of its leadership
The study is an
internal survey of RDC members’ priorities for the upcoming year. The
Commission will publicly discuss the results of the survey and try to come
to a consensus on which priorities to focus on.
Bozak said the
workshop should take place at a special meeting of the RDC because it is
likely the discussion will take up more than an hour. The RDC’s regularly
meets for an hour before the Town Council meetings.
In other reports,
Communications Director Danielle Ziulkowski showed new enhancements she has
made to the Town’s website.