Chesterton Tribune

Jim Ton urges TIF board to revisit Dickinson Road extension

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By KEVIN NEVERS

In October 2009 Chesterton Town Council Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd, urged his colleagues to think again—and seriously—about taking the bull of the Dickinson Road extension by the horns.

At the time it had been three years since anyone in Chesterton town government had publicly discussed the project, not since 2006, when the Redevelopment Commission briefly flirted with the project, going so far as to retain two appraisers to value a piece of property needed to link Dickinson Road north the intersection of Sand Creek Drive North and Michael Drive.

But Trout’s words last year came and went and the Dickinson Road extension remains back-burnered.

Now a member of the Redevelopment Commission has picked up where Trout left off. At its meeting Monday night, Member Jim Ton—who also sits on the Town Council, R-1st—read a statement strongly in support of immediate action on the Dickinson Road extension.

“The fact that we need a fire station on the east side of town is a fairly well accepted fact,” Ton said. “Whether we get a grant to build it or not, it will have to happen sooner or later, preferably sooner.

“Coupled with this need is the reality that a fire station on the east side (of Ind. 49) needs to be able to service the entire east side. There is a small business district, apartment complexes, and a wide variety of housing on the east side, along with the Indian Boundary Road area, with no through north-to-south connection. We have had recent hiatus in building due to the economy but eventually the Olson property (at the eastern terminus of East Porter Ave.) will also be developed.

“On the contrary, the west side of town has Meridian Road and C.R. 50W and Ind. 149 as alternative north/south routes.

“Several town councils have been discussing the extension of Dickinson Road to the north for 15 years. That is long enough. I believe we are fortunate that land may still be available to extend that road to the north side of town. One major incident on Ind. 49 could render that road impassable in an emergency. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, and public safety is the main thing.

“Alternatives exist on the west side of town, not on the east. This then becomes the East Side Story. A story that calls for a conclusion, a final chapter: the extension of Dickinson Road to the north. I am in support of this initiative both as a member of the council and the Redevelopment Commission and ask that we begin immediate efforts to move forward as soon as possible.”

The whole idea of the Dickinson Road extension—one of the four projects officially listed in 2000 as rationale for the creation of a tax increment financing district in the first place—is to provide a north/south alternative to Ind. 49, not only as a safety measure to relieve pressure on that heavily used route but also as a direct and easy link from the Indian Boundary Road to the business districts on East Porter Ave. and Coffee Creek Center.

 

 

Posted 3/23/2010