Chesterton Tribune

Porter eyes creating TIF district for Gateway development

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The Porter Redevelopment Commission by consensus Tuesday asked its consultants to determine the benefits and boundaries of a new economic allocation area, commonly known as a TIF district.

The area would encompass some or all of the 49 acres devoted to Porter’s planned Gateway to the Indiana Dunes tourism/economic development project along Indiana 49 between Interstate 94 and U.S. 12 generally from Tremont Road to Waverly Road.

In the year 2030 assuming complete build-out of the $30 million Gateway plan, it would generate an estimated $2.6 million in new property taxes with those raised within the new allocation area staying with the town for the Redevelopment Commission’s use.

Under commission comments Tuesday, member Bruce Snyder proposed allowing the town’s consultants and financial advisor to set in motion creation of a new TIF district incorporating all land identfied on specific pages of the recently adopted Gateway plan.

Town attorney Patrick Lyp said establishing the allocation area would be a three-month process at a minimum.

Commission president Michele Bollinger said the TIF district was not on the agenda, so could members take action on it? Lyp said no vote was needed now merely to direct advisors to initiate needed studies.

Snyder said having adopted the Gateway plan already, “It all dovetails together so we should take advantage of it.”

In related business, Indiana 49 resident George Radecki representing himself and three of his neighbors said while they believe the Gateway to be a good addition to the Town of Porter, they are concerned that access to three driveways serving the four homes could be cut off.

The Gateway includes a redesign of Indiana 49 with a median tentatively slated in Radecki’s area.

He asked that a portion of the median be left open for a crossover so residents can turn left and go south; that opening would need to be large enough to accommodate an ambulance and/or fire truck to enter the driveways, he added.

Bollinger said his request would be forwarded to Gateway consultant SEH to find an acceptable solution. Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser assured Radecki that any work the Indiana Department of Transportation does on Indiana 49 will be at INDOT’s expense and the homeowners’ driveways would be restored by INDOT.

Keiser also said the new Indiana 49 bridge over U.S. 20 is 70 percent complete and the U.S. 12 bridge is 15 percent complete. INDOT still is targeting completion by Memorial Day.

Bollinger reported a Gateway traffic feasibility study is in draft form.

The Porter Plan Commission meets tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the town hall to review the Gateway plan before making a recommendation to the Town Council for needed zoning changes.

Regarding the commission’s Brickyard project --- offering traditional residential and senior-living options with a future fire station and limited neighborhood retail --- Keiser said preliminary engineering is 30 percent complete and a final plan could be presented to the Porter Plan Commission this spring.

The 30-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Beam Street and Sexton Avenue, a former brickyard and clay pit, hopefully can utilize a design that minimizes the need for fill, added Keiser.

On another matter, by consensus the commission directed SEH to prepare a sample two-sided, one-page color insert to be placed in a future town sewer billing to educate Porter residents on the Gateway and Brickyard projects. Estimated cost is $500 to $600.

“It would be a great way, another avenue to get our ideas out there,” said Bollinger, who noted both projects have been the subject of numerous public meetings already.



Posted 3/9/2011