Chesterton Tribune



Ton: South Shore double tracking would cause migration from Illinois to Duneland

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With public input sessions scheduled for next week on the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District’s plans to install double-track between Gary and Michigan City, Jim Ton took a moment at Monday night’s meeting of the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission to discuss the likely impact on Duneland of faster trips to Chicago and more reliable commuter train service.

“If double-tracking goes through, we can expect a major influx of people,” said Ton, who presently chairs the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission’s Executive Board.

Faster service, more to the point--under 60 minutes from Dune Park Station to Millennium Station--“would make Chesterton a 100-percent, dyed-in-the-wool suburb of Chicago,” Ton suggested: an attractive, reasonable alternative for folks fed up with the high cost and inconvenience of living in Illinois.

Or as NIRPC’s Comprehensive Strategic Plan: 2016 Update puts it, “Improved commuter rail accessibility encourages migration to Northwest Indiana as Chicago commuters experience similar transportation times as other suburban areas but may enjoy significant costs of living benefits.”

Citing the 2016 Update, Ton said that double-tracking by itself could grow the population of Gary, Portage, and points east by more than 3,000 by 2046,

“That’s just a forecast,” Ton emphasized, “but if it happens, we’re in for a big change in our community. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. I’m just saying we’d be in for a big change.”

Other impacts of double-tracking, according to the 2016 Update:

* Economic activity “catalyzed” by decreased travel times and increased service reliability would support 3,200 jobs by 2046.

* Total personal income in Northwest Indiana attributable to double-tracking would increase annually by an average of $22 million, for a total gain in 2046 of $647 million.

* Between 2019 and 2038, the economic activity stimulated by double-tracking would yield a total of $230 million in state sales and income taxes.

A public input session will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, 1215 N. Ind. 49 in Porter.

Rotten Cottonwood

In other business, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that a rotten cottonwood tree--located on a public right-of-way at the intersection of Village Point and Voyage Blvd. in Coffee Creek Center--has been removed by a professional tree service company.

More specifically, the rotten middle trunk of a three-trunk stand has been removed, Schnadenberg said.

It was necessary to retain a professional’s service, Schnadenberg added, because the Street Department’s bucket truck does not reach as high as was necessary.

Member John Swibes originally called Schnadenberg’s attention to the rotten cottonwood several months ago.



Posted 9/28/2016







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