Chesterton Tribune



Porter Public Works building study approved; alternate proposed

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The Porter Redevelopment Commission gave the go-ahead Monday for consultant SEH to draft preliminary plans and site specifications for a possible 12,000-square foot Public Works facility.

The complex would include a 3-acre yard waste area, protected salt dome and specially designed wash-off station for Sewer Department vehicles/equipment to avoid shop contamination.

On the recommendation of RDC member Rob Pomeroy, SEH also will be asked for a cost beyond its base $39,900 contract to study having yard waste and material storage only at the new location, freeing up space behind the current 550 W. Beam St. building for an addition.

The money saved, said Pomeroy, could be used to replace the Fire Departmentís 1988 engine and buy new Public Works vehicles.

Public Works and the Fire Department share a building now, but RDC president Jeannine Virtue said the 23 year-old structure is too small. Having been liaison to both the Fire and Public Works departments, ďNo one can tell me we donít need the space.Ē

The Fire Department would occupy the entire 550 W. Beam site if a new Public Works building is constructed directly across the street in the town-owned Brickyard property.

Because that land is a former industrial area regulated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the RDC also entered into a $4,250 contract with Cardno ATC Assoc. to perform soil borings.

Member Greg Stinson said the Public Works project is time sensitive because the RDC faces a July 1, 2015 deadline to have a needed bond issue for the project in place under a new state law regarding TIF districts, within which the Brickyard is located.

If the bond issue and IDEM approval canít be completed in time, a general obligation bond through the Town Council would be considered but Stinson said the project likely would be smaller in scope to avoid a property-tax increase on residents.

After the meeting Public Works superintendent Brenda Brueck-heimer said although the Brickyard land has steep ravines, the 4 to 5 acres eyed for the new complex is the flattest portion of the property and is directly across from the current Public Works complex.

She also said the new yard-waste site would be developed in cooperation with the Porter County Solid Waste District.

John Marshall is an appointed RDC member from the Duneland School Board. He asked that any new bond issue not reduce the amount of property taxes Duneland otherwise would receive and if it would, that the lost revenue be replaced.

RDC attorney Gregg Sobkowski said there should be no negative financial impact to Duneland.

During public comment resident Jennifer Klug suggested the town pay off the outstanding balance, thought to be small, on a previous bond issue to finance construction of the police station if a new bond issue is sold.

In other RDC business, Porter director of development Mike Barry reported construction change-orders to the Orchard Pedestrian Way hike/bike trail have resulted in an overall $56,819 credit on the project bringing it under budget.

After negotiation with project engineer Haas and Associates the RDC voted 4-0 with member Erik Wagner absent to pay the firm an additional $10,400 for necessary work beyond the contract scope originally outlined.


Posted 12/30/2014