A month ago Chesterton Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann had no idea whether
Persistence LLC would be able to sell, by the Dec. 31 deadline, the $40
million in recovery-zone bonds committed by Northern Indiana counties to
finance an indoor sports complex on land just south of the Indiana Toll Road
and east of Ind. 49.
A month later—on Monday, at the Redevelopment Commission’s monthly meeting—Lukmann
had even less than no idea of the status of the project.
“As of now, we don’t know if there will be a sports complex located there,”
Lukmann told the commission. “Nothing has really transpired as far as PUD
approval or anything like that, that would be important to them to sell
The problem is this: the commission—acting on behalf of the Town
Council—wants to expand the tax increment financing district south of the
Indiana Toll Road, on either side of Ind. 49, to make feasible the
development of the so-called Ind. 49 utility corridor. But under current
Indiana Code a TIF district can only be expanded if an out-of-state business
actually re-locates to an area within the enlarged district. And so far,
Lukmann said, he has heard no “concrete word” of Persistence LLC’s intention
of leaving Matteson, Ill., for Chesterton, Ind.
So “we need a backup plan,” Lukmann said. That plan is this: instead of
expanding the TIF district, the commission can create a brand-new one, but
it would take, as a first step, its adoption of a declaratory resolution.
Members voted 4-0 accordingly to instruct Lukmann to prepare such a
resolution in advance of its next meeting, Dec. 6. Member Sharon Darnell was
not in attendance.
A new TIF district would be comprised of roughly 142 acres within the Town
of Chesterton, on both the east and west sides of Ind. 49, more commonly
known as the Rossman and Pope properties.
In other business, Town Engineer Mark O’Dell reported that the South Calumet
District project is officially completed. A two-year warranty for
infrastructure took effect on June 1, he said, while a two-year warranty for
the land- and streetscape took effect on Nov. 15.
Ron Steve of DLZ, the contracted construction manager for the project, did
say that something like six trees will have to be replaced next spring.
Meanwhile, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that all of his
TIF-funded projects for the year are “pretty much finished,” including the
re-paving of the Downtown and sidewalk work along the east side of South
Calumet Road between Morgan Ave. and Porter Ave.
Schnadenberg added that next year some badly crumbled sidewalk along the
west side of South Calumet Road will be replaced between Lincoln Ave. and
Porter Ave. He and O’Dell are also investigating the feasibility of
installing battery backups for several traffic signals along Indian Boundary
Road—possibly at the intersections of North Calumet Road, Plaza Drive,
Council Drive, and Sand Creek Drive—and would like to interest the Indiana
Department of Transportation in the jointly funded installation of a similar
battery backup for the signals at the intersection of Indian Boundary Road
and Ind. 49.
From the floor Tom Smith, representing his family, told the commission that
the Smiths would like to speak with the town on the subject of the Dickinson
“I just wanted you to know we’d be interested in discussions in that
respect,” Smith said. “I think it would be a good project for the town,
that’s for sure, in the long term.”
Members voted 4-0 to approve the following claims: $16,096.50 from DLZ;
$24,500 from G.E. Marshall Inc.; and $285 from First American Management