Chesterton Tribune

Newly elected Porter Town Council to inherit Brickyard site, final lame duck meeting tonight

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The Porter Town Council convenes its final regular meeting of the year tonight at 7 p.m. Five new members take office Jan. 1.

On the agenda are reports from department heads, boards and commissions; an update on sewer projects; the winners of the Christmas outdoor decorating contest; resolutions transfering appropriations; and an amendment to the 2012 salary ordinance adopted Dec. 13.

The public may address the council on other matters under audience participation as the meeting begins.

The Porter Redevelopment Commission will not meet Tuesday as scheduled due to the lack of a quorum, but the commission recently was notified by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management that the town must better determine the boundaries of contamination on an RDC-owned site near downtown Porter.

IDEM wants Porter to submit a report on its additional investigation activities by late January.

In 2009 the RDC paid $350,000 to purchase for future redevelopment 32 acres at Beam Street and Sexton Avenue known as the Brickyard because of turn-of-the-century brickmaking operations there.

Two previous environmental site assessments done for the RDC found surface soil contamination including lead and arsenic apparently confined to the southern portion of the Brickyard site, according to IDEM, in areas where historic rail transportation and industrial activities were reported to have occurred.

Based on the latest environmental site assessment completed in September for the RDC by Weaver Boos Consultants LLC, their conclusions recommend additional soil sampling be done at the Brickyard to zero in on where exactly the contamination is.

IDEM agreed with Weaver Boos in a Nov. 28 letter to Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser.

Furthermore, permanent ground water monitoring wells also should be installed at the site, according to IDEM.

The RDCís past purchase and planned redevelopment of the Brickyard parcel became an issue in this yearís Town Council election with the winning candidates urging that a more cautious approach be taken on the project in light of the contamination.

IDEM now suggests the Town of Porter conduct a risk assessment of future land-use scenarios at the Brickyard based on either residential, commercial/industrial or recreational uses at specific locations. Originally single-family, townhome and senior-citizen housing all had been planned with limited neighborhood commercial uses.

IDEM also notified the town that, as owner of the Brickyard, it could be liable to reimburse the agency for costs Indiana incurs related to the Brickyard project; these costs may include reimbursement for time spent on document reviews by technical and legal staff, site visits, meetings, telephone calls, the issuance of comment letters and validation of documentation.

A new Porter RDC will be appointed by the incoming Town Council after Jan. 1.



Posted 12/27/2011