presentation by two NIRPC staffers at the Chesterton Town Council’s meeting
on June 11 was not at all what Member Jim Ton, R-1st, had in mind, when—as
NIRPC commissioner and Executive Board member—he arranged it.
Instead, Ton had
been rather hoping for a 20-minute discussion in which a representative of
the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission would simply discuss
the status of the Dickinson Road extension project.
What Ton got was
something like a 45-minute overview of NIRPC’s 2040 plan, with special
attention to urban redevelopment.
meeting of the Redevelopment Commission—on which he also sits—Ton read a
prepared statement in which he offered his regrets.
presentation was not what I expected it to be,” Ton said. “It was too long
and detailed. . . . I believe the excessive length and detail of the
presentation frustrated the council and others present. I apologize for the
frustration and lack of clarity.”
indicated that the rationale given by the NIRPC staffers for not including
the Dickinson Road extension in NIRPC planning—that the project is
“regionally insignificant”—was not only something of a low blow but more to
the point obsolete. “The term ‘regionally insignificant’ as used in the
presentation specifically applied to previous regional plan project criteria
in the 2010 project application,” he said. “The new 2040 plan has options
for projects which are ‘expansion’ projects.”
And the Town of
Chesterton’s projected growth of 42 percent by 2040 “puts this project in
that category,” Ton said.
‘expansion’ project it does potentially qualify for federal highway funding
pending the results of additional data and analysis and NIRPC’s
consideration of all such projects in the service area,” Ton added. “NIRPC
is willing to give Chesterton assistance in project planning and grant
applications for Dickinson Road.”
then took the following steps:
4-0 to retain DLZ to prepare a preliminary engineering study of the
Dickinson Road extension, a requirement for any grant application.
formally asked NIRPC to partner with the town and to focus its analysis on a
potential Ind. 49 corridor study with additional data and analysis.