The Porter Redevelopment Commission is hoping that a compromise can be
struck with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management over IDEMís
determination that permanent groundwater monitoring wells should be
installed on the Brickyard property.
Meeting Tuesday, RDC president Elka Nelson said working with environmental
consultant Weaver Boos the commission has put together a proposal less
cumbersome than IDEMís monitoring-well directive that included additional
site testing to determine the boundaries of contamination.
The 2009 RDC purchased two parcels south of Beam Street totalling just over
32 acres for $350,000 for future development. The contamination, likely from
a turn-of-the-century brickmaking operation and an adjacent railroad, has
prompted IDEM to require more testing before the land is developed.
Nelson said in 30 to 60 days the RDC hopes to have a response from IDEM. A
copy of the commissionís proposal to the state agency will be available at
the town hall for inspection.
The RDC also is awaiting IDEMís input on whether to extend a planned fence
on the east side of the Brickyard abutting Sexton Avenue where the Brickyard
hike/bike trail recently was built. RDC member Jeannine Virtue said no fence
was included in the trail design because it was believed the adjacent 10 to
12-foot drop would be filled in to facilitate development, but that doesnít
look like it will happen any time soon, she added.
Nelson said IDEM may want the RDC to extend the fence farther south of the
drop-off to discourage dumping on the Brickyard site. In the interim, No
Dumping and No Trespassing signs have been ordered.
In a related matter, Nelson reported interested parties were slated to meet
today regarding the setting of a Brickyard Trail pedestrian bridge over U.S.
20. The sections have sat in the easement near Howe Road for several weeks.
A second bridge over U.S. 12 will be erected as well. The trail links
downtown Porter with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Also Tuesday, the commission voted 5-0 to ask the Northwest Indiana Regional
Development Authority to redirect some of the remaining $17 million Porter
was awarded for its Gateway to the Indiana Dunes economic
The commission is seeking a total $154,524 to serve as the local match on
two separate grants for public improvements at Porter Beach, for Dunes
Kankakee trail connections, and for a State Park Road hydraulic study.
The RDC voted unanimously to help Porter business owners who receive facade
grants through the Duneland Economic Development Company upgrade their
properties virtually cost-free. A maximum grant is $5,000 and Porter will
pay the required 20 percent match as well as temporarily finance for
business owners the remaining 80 percent so work can be completed prior to
being reimbursed by the DEDC.
Nelson suggested the town require waivers and an inspection before paying
The RDC will be the financing source for any facade grants awarded within
Porterís tax-increment-financing districts. The Town Council has agreed to
do the same for any business outside the TIF boundaries.