Before Tony Czapla gets his financing in place, he should make sure his
plans for a new $40 million indoor sports complex meet with the Chesterton
Advisory Plan Commission’s approval.
That was the message commission members sent loud and clear at Thursday’s
Czapla is a principal of Portage-based Persistence LLC, which wants to build
the facility and a possible hotel and indoor water park on land south of the
Indiana Toll Road and east of Indiana 49 near the terminus of North Calumet
A redesign of that intersection including a new traffic signal had been
proposed when a Walmart tentatively was planned for the site.
The land previously was approved by the town as a planned unit development
or PUD for developer Robert Rossman, who committed to giving the town the
opportunity for detailed review of any planned project, said commission
member George Stone
Instead, he continued, Czapla has told reporters he is in detailed,
complicated negotiations to find financing for the sports facility.
“While I understand money discussions are very important,” said Stone, “I
hate to see the guy think he’s good to go without recognizing he has a whole
review process with us. Before he has $40 million to spend, he might want to
make a presentation to this body so if he has problems, it can be ironed
Commission member Jeff Trout said, “I concur 100 percent.” Added member Sig
Niepokoj, “We all agree, I think.”
Trout also sits on the Town Council. He said Chesterton officials working
with Czapla strongly have urged his team to submit a site plan to the Plan
Commission. “They certainly understand the proper steps include coming to
the Plan Commission and they’ve been encouraged to do that.”
Trout said the existing PUD would need to be amended, but it has to be
determined whether it is a minor or a major change so the appropriate
process can be followed.
Typically it takes at least two months for PUD consideration before a
recommendation is forwarded to the Town Council for final action. However,
Czapla told the Chesterton Tribune that the revenue bonds Persistence LLC is
attempting to secure under a federal recovery-zone stimulus program must be
sold before midnight Dec. 31.
As of Thursday, Persistence LLC had commitments from six Indiana counties
including Porter County to assign more than $23 million of their
recovery-zone bonding allocation to the Chesterton sports complex, which
would hope to attract local, regional and even national athletic
competitions and tournaments.
Czapla also said his group has been actively in discussion with lenders
about buying the bonds.