Chesterton Tribune



Johnson Inn TIF district clears hurdle at Porter Town Council

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MCR Partners consultant Matt Reardon appeared on behalf of the Porter Redevelopment Commission at the Porter Town Council meeting Tuesday to present a resolution for the TIF Wabash Avenue Redevelopment Area at Porter Beach.

Reardon said the Redevelopment Commission is proposing to designate a TIF, or tax increment financing, district in Porter that would capture revenue from all commercial property along Wabash Avenue to Waverly Road.

Reardon reported that the district would only capture revenue from commercial property, such as the old Johnson Beach Inn, and would exclude all residential property.

Reardon said the area presents challenges to development as it is surrounded by residences, Lake Michigan, and the National Lakeshore. “The Redevelopment Commission thought a direct and concerted effort to develop that area was appropriate,” he said.

A zoning map on the Porter town website shows only a small commercial zone around the beachfront Johnson Inn.

The Council approved the resolution. Next, the Redevelopment Commission will hold a public hearing on the matter at its June 26 meeting.

Tax increment financing is a levy on real property in an established district that yields an annual flow of cash the Town can use for public works in that district at its discretion. Revenue from TIF is the difference between property taxes collected based on the assessed value of property in the district from a given base year and the total amount of taxes collected from the district in the current year. TIF revenue does not need to be shared with other entities such as the schools, the County, or the library.

Building Commissioner

Building Commissioner Michael Barry reported that community crossing paving projects in Porter will begin on July 1 or shortly after. The projects will start with Oak Hill Road to U.S. 12 going west. Barry reports he is in the process of updating the Town’s asset management plan, which includes an inventory of roads based on condition. The plan will help the Town determine which roads are in the worst condition and should be paved next year.

Barry also reported that the Porter beach drainage project will begin this week on Dudley Drive, Market Street and Glacier Trail. Improved curbing and drainage structures will be put in. His last announcement was that two culverts will be replaced on Oak Hill Road between Mineral Springs and Wagner Road. That work is likely to start next week and will close the road in that direction as each culvert is replaced. Barry said a notification will be made public once he has dates for the closures.

Park Department

Parks Director Brian Bugajski began by thanking the Porter Police and Fire Departments and Porter resident Eric Ailes for helping with the annual safety fest.

Bugajski reminded parents to register their children for the free kid’s fishing derby June 20 at Indian Springs Park. The derby is open to kids age six to 12 and includes a free hot dog lunch. Call (219)983-1042 to register.

The Council held a revote on the long-range improvement plan for Porter parks. Council President Erik Wagner explained that at the last meeting, “We voted on a plan that didn’t technically exist yet.”

At the last meeting of the Town Council, Bugajski gave the Council two versions of the plan--one that included plans for a dog park and one that didn’t--after residents of Porter Cove expressed disapproval for the dog park’s proposed potential location at Kid’s Cove Park and at the idea of a dog park as a whole.

In response, the Council asked Bugajski to write a new version of the plan that included the guidelines for building a dog park but did not specify a location for it. The Council had to revote after viewing the new version of the plan, which outlines proposed improvements and provides descriptions, estimated costs, and potential sources of funding for 52 projects at six parks that would have a total known cost of $420,000. Bugajski said the plan is a framework for the next 20 to 40 years--not a commitment to any projects--and the funding sources suggested are only ideas. The Council approved it unanimously.

Fire Department

Fire Chief Jay Craig began by thanking Pure Air, which is closing up shop at Bailly Station Road and has been donating items from the facility to the Porter Fire Department.

Craig said they’ve donated office equipment, computer monitors, 38 fire extinguishers, a supplied air confined space pump, and some rope rescue equipment. “I just wanted to thank them publicly for their generous donations,” Craig said. He also thanked Public Works Supervisor Brenda Brueckheimer for helping facilitate yearly maintenance on the Fire Department’s vehicles.

Craig made a reminder that anyone wishing to become a Porter volunteer firefighter should submit an application soon for the summer academy. Stop by the Department at 550 W. Beam Street or call (219) 926-1226 for information.



Posted 6/13/2018




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