The town of Porter is going to kick off the first project in its planned $30
million Gateway to the Dunes initiative with a ceremonial groundbreaking
Several federal, regional, state and local officials are invited to the 10
a.m. ceremony and the Porter Redevelopment Commission authorized spending up
to $2,000 for a tent, chair rental and refreshments for the event.
Pending resolution of a labor strike by union teamsters, the Indiana
Department of Transportation plans to begin work soon on bridge enhancements
that will beautify bridges along Indiana 49 over U.S. 20 and 12.
The work is part of several projects Porter has proposed to revitalize those
corridors for economic development and to lure Indiana dunes tourists into
Among the projects are developing a transportation service linking the South
Shore station with area attractions and businesses, building the north leg
of the new Dunes Kankakee hike/bike trail, and making road upgrades and
modifications to Indiana 49, the latter undertaken by INDOT.
Porter as lead agency has asked the Northwest Indiana Regional Development
Authority for $19 million to carry out its plans; the RDA approved $1.8
million so far. The $2,000 groundbreaking cost may be eligible for RDA
Voting Tuesday, the Redevelopment Commission ap-proved a claim for $180,000
to pay INDOT for adding lettering, lighting sconces, concrete pilasters and
other amenities to a bridge. The move was a back-up in the event the
promised RDA check doesn’t arrive in time.
Commission member Michele Bollinger is coordinating the July 1 ceremony and
president Bruce Snyder called it “a very big event.”
In other business, town director of engineering Matt Keiser said
construction is slated to begin this fall on the long-delayed Porter
Brickyard hike/bike trail, and a sidewalk extension will be part of planned
development of a downtown parking lot on the north side of Lincoln Street,
boosting the latter cost above the initial $24,000 budgeted.
Keiser also reported an engineering firm will be selected to prepare
preliminary plans for the Beam Street parcel, a former brickyard, that the
commission purchased for $350,000 last year. Engineering is required to have
the site zoned as a planned unit development making it more attractive to
The commission recently paid $197,000 to purchase additional sewage capacity
for the brickyard project, which is intended to be a mix of residential uses
with limited neighborhood commercial.
Under a preliminary schedule laid out Tuesday the Redevelopment Commission
would sell $5.1 million in revenue bonds Aug. 18 with closing Aug. 31.
First a public hearing on the sale would take place July 27.
The money will be used to finance badly needed upgrades to the town’s
sanitary-sewer collection system and lift stations. The Redevelopment
Commission will be responsible for repaying $4.1 million and the Town
Council $1 million with interest over a term not to exceed 15 years
Financial consultant Karl Cender distributed a preliminary bond resolution
but Snyder said commission members needed time to digest it before voting.
Cender said its adoption at the July 13 meeting won’t delay the timing of
the bond sale.
Commission member Al Raffin, who has asked several questions about how the
sale will be structured, was absent Tuesday.
The commission also set a closed executive session to discuss land
acquisition for June 29 at 6 p.m. in the town hall meeting room.