The food truck
square put together by the Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission will start
its sophomore year this summer.
Marcus Rogala said he is planning for the first food truck event to be in
June after the school year is done. The square is located where the former
Westport Community Center was at the corner of Haglund Rd. and Ind. 149.
At its meeting
Wednesday, the Commission lined up three Food Truck events. Returning is
“The Badge and You” law enforcement appreciation night on Aug. 28 and the
Brews, Blues and BBQ Festival on Sept. 16
In November, Rogala
wants to add a festival around Veteran’s Day similar to the Town of Porter’s
Perfect Pint. He and Leroy Flores, owner of Leroy’s Hot Stuff, have started
collaborating and intend for the event to raise money for veterans.
With Burns Harbor
not yet having anything unique to support veterans unlike neighboring towns,
Rogala this would start a tradition and give the town more recognition.
“We want to make it
unique for the area to get people to come” Rogala said, adding that it won’t
interfere with other brew festivals that take place earlier in the year.
RDC member Eric
Hull said planning ahead this far will improve the chances the event will go
Rogala said now is
the best time to speak with food vendors before they start filling their
schedules for the summer.
Meanwhile, the RDC
received an application for the coordinator position for the food truck
square from Abigail Thayer. Thayer, who said she has done event planning in
Michigan City and has some food truck experience, was at the meeting to
discuss her application with the commission.
potential in the opportunity to have events at the site, whether it be the
Food Truck days or a weekly market.
“People are wanting
to be a part of something new and this is exciting,” she said.
three different tiers of services but the RDC members said they wanted Town
Attorney Clay Patton to review her proposed contract. The question of
compensation was debated; whether the RDC should pay a lump sum per month
plus expenses, or pay based on the fees collected from the vendors.
Rogala said the
Commission last year charged a $50 per vendor for the season to start off.
Thayer suggested the focus be on growing the Food Truck Square with more
vendors this year and get them to come back next year when it may be a
better time to have fees.
The RDC’s goal is
not to make profits but to further develop the town and community, Hull
said. The criticism by some residents however is that the RDC has “spent a
lot of money and not much has happened,” he said, and this gives a chance to
start seeing results.
RDC Consultant Tina
Rongers said the Town needs programming to get visitors interested in coming
to Burns Harbor and create a sense of place. Thayer’s proposal includes a
lot of the things that have been talked about, she said.
The RDC ultimately
decided to hold off on contracting with Thayer until it has time to better
review the proposal. Rogala said a special meeting may be held before the
RDC’s March meeting to vote on the agreement since vendors may be starting
to fill their calendars.
The RDC also tabled
a supplement letter of agreement for the development of the Marquette
Greenway Trail with SEH Inc.
Dan Botich and Adam
Higgins from SEH said that there can be a cost savings if work for Phase 1
and Phase 2 are done concurrently instead of individually to expedite
Phase 1 starts at
North Babcock Rd. in Porter and will travel west one mile to Ind. 149 near
Westport Rd. and Phase 2 continues westward from Ind. 149 two miles to the
Ameriplex Development in Portage, making Burns Harbor the focal point of the
Trail, Botich said.
Greenway will tie into state trails from Illinois and Michigan, as well as
having connections from Gary, the Dunes Park South Shore Station and
Michigan City. SEH, which has been hired to do the design engineering, has
reached out to the National Park Service for an additional opportunity to
take the trail through the National Lakeshore, Botich said.
To do that would
require more environmental assessments, he and Higgins said, looking closely
at planning documents, contours and land use. The environmental assessments
can be done in preparation for development of the two phases, beginning as
early as 2020.
The costs would
fall within those projected for Phase 1 at a little over $2 million. Most of
that will be paid by a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ)
grant with a ten percent match from the Town.
agreement would take care of the work between now and the time the project
breaks ground, Botich said.
Rogala asked that
the Commission table the agreement to give members the chance to study it
more carefully. Botich said he apologizes for not presenting it sooner but
he wanted to make sure to speak with the NPS to get a better cost estimate
including the environmental assessments.
Money for Schools
At the beginning of
the meeting, the Commission received a letter from Town Clerk-Treasurer Jane
Jordan informing them that the next installment of funds (TIF) is due to the
Duneland Schools this month.
The payment will be
$43,490. Installments are due semi-annually in February and August.
Per the RDC’s
ten-year agreement signed in 2014, 15 percent of TIF revenues collected are
passed on to the schools to promote economic development.