Chesterton Tribune

Future of sports complex uncertain, TIF board hears

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By KEVIN NEVERS

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 bonds.”

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.

Project Updates

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.

Dickinson Road Extension

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 Road extension.

“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.”

Claims

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 Company.

 

 

Posted 11/23/2010