Chesterton Tribune


Gateway Plan advances with trail spur and Tremont Road traffic signal upgrade

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The Town of Porter advanced two projects Tuesday tied to the Gateway to the Indiana Dunes development plan.

Meeting separately, the Town Council and the Redevelopment Commission accepted an interlocal agreement with involved agencies for Porter to maintain the new Dunes Kankakee Trail spur from the Indiana Dunes State Park to the Porter County Visitor Center.

The Porter boards also approved an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation to replace the traffic signals at U.S. 20 and Tremont Road including decorative poles at the intersection.

Tremont Road, a local street used as a shortcut between highways, will be rebuilt from Indiana 49 to U.S. 20 hopefully this year at an estimated cost of $922,000 for the road and poles, said project consultant Craig Hendrix of SEH after the meeting. The entire cost is funded using a previous grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority for the Gateway.

As for the DK Trail, Porter director of development Michael Barry said the spur would be built on the east side of Indiana 49 across from North and South Bailly Drives. Some RDA and INDOT money would help Porter fund the spur.

Redevelopment Commission president Elka Nelson said she, Town Council/RDC member Jeannine Virtue, police chief James Spanier, Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueckheimer and Barry have been meeting with SEH as a fact-finding group to discuss the trail; town attorney Gregg Sobkowski determined it is not a committee and would not have to conduct its meetings publicly.

Porter’s new DK Trail spur would end at the Visitor Center just north of Tremont/Oak Hill roads. Current plans are for the town’s nearly completed Brickyard Trail on the town’s north and west sides to be renamed as the DK Trail, too.

The eventual goal, continued Barry, is somehow to connect a Porter segment of the DK Trail to the town’s planned Orchard Pedestrian Way along Waverly Road that is going out to bid in April. “There’s so many projects intertwined.”

The ambitious Gateway to the Indiana Dunes undertaken by the former Town Council calls for development and redevelopment of the Indiana 49 and U.S. 20 corridors in Porter. The RDA awarded a $19 million grant for the Gateway with a small portion of the money having been spent.

The original Gateway plan proposed an indoor/outdoor waterpark and hotel complex near the Indiana 49 Visitor Center. Last year Seven Peaks Waterparks of Utah purchased the shuttered Splash Down Dunes at Waverly and U.S. 20 with plans to open the remodeled outdoor waterpark in late May.

In other RDC business last night, Greg Stinson was elected president, Virtue vice-president and new member Erik Wagner, who was welcomed to the board, as secretary. A 2013 contract with Hodges & Davis for Sobkowski’s legal services was approved.

The RDC also approved and the Town Council accepted a changeorder for the Porter Avenue lift station and sewer force-main project saving $63,000 by eliminating a casing under the railroad. Member Joe Simanski was absent.



Posted 1/23/2013