Meeting Tuesday, the Porter Town Council enthusiastically green-lighted
further investigation into establishing a municipal riverfront district that
could lead to redevelopment of The Spa.
Council member Jeannine Virtue said the once-popular venue closed at least
10 years ago and since then parties have expressed interest in the property,
but president Greg Stinson said there’s been a major stumbling block.
“Getting someone to open a high-end restaurant and banquet center without a
liquor license is a hard sell,” he explained.
A riverfront district designation would allow for more liquor licenses in
town, but first Stinson said there are questions that need to be addressed.
The Spa on Mineral Springs Road is within 1,500 feet of the Little Calumet
River, but town officials need to verify that Porter meets other
requirements to satisfy state Alcoholic Beverage Commission rules.
Virtue said if there’s a way to get The Spa back up on the town tax rolls,
the council should pursue it.
Sept. 28, 2009 the Chesterton Town Council created a Riverfront Development
Project that since has led to liquor licenses becoming available to open
Sage and Villa Nova restaurants, according to Stephanie Kuziela,
administrative assistant to town manager Bernie Doyle.
“What we’re looking for are restaurants in fine family dining, no sports
bars. We won’t give a recommendation (to the ABC) for that,” she added.
Chesterton’s riverfront district generally extends on either side of Coffee
Creek north of Porter Avenue, on the creek’s west side taking in the
downtown and areas west of it almost to Eighth Street. East of Coffee Creek,
beginning just north of but excluding Morgan Park, the district encompasses
land on either side of Indiana 49 including Indian Boundary Road retail
Tied to its riverfront project Chesterton initially proposed development of
a downtown overlay zone; restoration and expansion of the Coffee Creek Park
boardwalk; and the identification, acquisition and development of real
estate for Chesterton downtown parking facilities in the riverfront
Seven Peaks Marketing LC of Utah recently purchased Splash Down Dunes
waterpark in Porter with plans to reopen it in 2013 following a major
upgrade. Kuziela said Seven Peaks representatives have reached out to
Chesterton as well as Porter officials; with the waterpark as an anchor,
more development could be spurred in both towns, she noted.