Chesterton Tribune

Porter RDC advances TIF expansion, OKs Brickyard for Porter police range

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The Porter Redevelopment Commission initiated the process Tuesday to include all of the former Splash Down Dunes property in the townís TIF allocation area.

The 32 acres recently was acquired by Seven Peaks Marketing of Utah with plans to make $1.5 to $2 million in upgrades at the U.S. 20 waterpark and reopen it in 2013.

Once included in the TIF area, property taxes collected on new development there will be reserved solely for the RDCís own use.

RDC president Elka Nelson said there was confusion whether the waterpark itself on the east side of Wavely Road previously had been designated as part of the existing TIF, but no record it had could be found.

It now will be added as well as a separate parcel on the west side of Wavely where the venueís parking lot is located --- if that lotís not already in the TIF now. Previous documentation needs to be confirmed, said Nelson.

The RDC voted unanimously with member Joe Simanski absent to authorize town attorney Gregg Sobkowski to draft a declaratory resolution for consideration Aug. 28 to expand the TIF area. Sobkowski said approvals must be sought from both the town Plan Commission and Town Council among other steps needed.

RDC funds culvert work

On another matter, the RDC agreed to pay not to exceed $45,000 to have a culvert installed under Ackerman Drive in Hawthorne Park subject to agreement with the Town Council and Park Board. The improvement is tied to the RDCís planned Orchard Pedestrian Trail along Waverly Road, a segment of which will pass through the park.

A separate culvert under Franklin Street will be funded as part of the trail.

Project manager Warren Thiede of Haas & Associates said the $45,000 figure will cover construction, design and permitting. Orchard Trail construction is slated to begin next year.

Earlier in the evening, Thiede presented and the Porter Stormwater Management Board approved paying up to $6,000 to complete design on a proposed detention basin at A&N Storage needed to address long-standing drainage problems on Waverly Road south of the Amtrak line.

An easement from A&N will be required, and the board voted to initiate that process as well.

Having the town build the detention basin --- estimated to cost about $49,000 --- should avoid further trail delays due to drainage, said Thiede, as well as resolve a problem area on the Stormwater Boardís MS4 master plan.

Trail construction had been anticipated this year; the detention basin needs to be built before the trail.

Police firing range OKíd

Voting 4-0 the RDC authorized the Porter Police Department to temporarily use a portion of the town-owned Brickyard parcel at the southwest corner of Beam Street and Sexton Avenue as a firing range to train for periodic firearms recertification.

Area police departments previously trained at the Burns Harbor Police Department firing range until residents there complained and its use was restricted to that department only.

Nelson said the RDCís approval for Porterís range is contingent on the Indiana Department of Environmental Management concurring with that use. Contamination at the Brickyard, a former industrial site, led IDEM to have tests conducted and limit what activities can occur at the Brickyard.

RDC member Jeannine Virtue said Porter police will take several precautions so the firing range will be safe. Member Greg Stinson agreed the range should be extremely safe due to the Brickyardís topography.

Once an operating turn-of-the-century brickyard, excavation for clay has left steep elevation changes and significantly lower areas on the site.

Nelson said only Porter police will be allowed to use the Brickyard range.


Posted 7/24/2012