Chesterton Tribune


Porter needs cooperation to authorize State Park Road drainage and trail upgrades

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Representatives from the Town of Porter and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to meet next week to discuss proposed upgrades to State Park Road.

Shem Khalil of Global Engineering and Surveying told the Porter Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday that rebuilding the road, addressing poor drainage there and providing designated passage for pedestrians and bicyclists along it is easier said than done.

Porter has a prescriptive easement from State Park Roadís pavement edge to pavement edge through long-time continued use so the town has the ability to maintain the road itself, said Khalil.

But on the roadís east end the State of Indiana owns land on the north side of the pavement and the National Park Service on the south side; because wetlands are close to the pavement edge, the Corps would have to allow the town to encroach slightly on the wetlands to make drainage improvements and the State would have to grant permission to build it.

After the meeting Khalil said he hopes the other jurisdictions would accept a 3 or 4-foot shoulder for the road that could be used by bikers/hikers.

Various routes are being studied for Porterís leg of the planned Dunes Kankakee Trail to bring it through Porter into its downtown.

Khalilís report was on his firmís ongoing State Park Road hydraulic study. He said making the road one-way traffic with the balance of the road a bike trail was considered, but the road is used as an alternate way in and out of Porter Beach so that option was deemed not feasible.

The hydraulic study also considered building platted but undeveloped Michigan Avenue nearby, however, that would prove to be difficult and expensive, said Khalil, although trading that easement for use of a small portion of the wetlands might be attractive to one of the jurisdictions involved.

In other business, Porter director of development Mike Barry said further construction on the Howe Road portion of the Brickyard Trail has been suspended pending acquisition of a disputed easement now under condemnation. The trail portion on National Park Service land is being readied for paving.

The RDC had intended to address a formal resolution expanding Porterís tax-increment-financing allocation area, better known as a TIF distirict, primarily to include 32 acres held by the new owners of Splash Down Dunes waterpark where $1.5 million to $2 million in upgrades are planned.

RDC president Elka Nelson said thereís still a question about the legal description of additional parcels to be placed in the TIF so the commission agreed to table the matter pending clarification.

Vote was 4-0 with member Al Raffin absent.



Posted 8/31/2012