It’s official: the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission has created a new,
second, tax increment financing district, this one south of the Indiana Toll
Road, with the idea of securing a revenue stream by which to fund the
so-called Ind. 49 Utility Corridor.
At its meeting Monday night, the commission voted 4-0 twice: first to
confirm a “declaratory resolution” adopted in January which amends the
original economic development plan formulated more than 10 years ago when
the first TIF district was established; and second to confirm another
“declaratory resolution,” also adopted in January, this one actually
creating the second district. President Ed Schoenfelt was not in attendance.
Break those resolutions down.
The first one adds as TIF eligible projects the following: roadway
improvements, including signalization, widening, and re-surfacing; and the
installation of natural gas, sanitary sewer, stormwater, water, and fiber
optic infrastructure. None of the original TIF-eligible projects has been
removed from that list, Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann noted.
The second resolution is actually more interesting, as it fixes a price tag
for the contemplated improvements--$5 million—estimates that 200 permanent
jobs would be created by those improvements, and projects as a result of the
improvements an increase in the town’s total assessed valuation of $14
No one spoke in opposition to either resolution at a public hearing which
preceded each vote.
Heather Ennis, executive director of the Chesterton/Duneland Chamber of
Commerce did, however, voice her support of the two resolutions. “They are
in strong support of economic development and I think that’s exactly what we
need in this community,” she said. “Companies looking to locate in this area
are looking for improved land,” Ennis said later. Development of the Ind. 49
corridor would make the property “considerably more attractive.”
The new TIF district is located along both sides of Ind. 49 south of the
Toll Road and comprises around 140 acres of land informally known as the
Rossman and Pope properties.
The commission is envisioning primarily commercial and industrial
development in the new TIF district, Lukmann observed. Should there be any
residential development, though, no property-tax increment would be captured
by the district.
At its own meeting later Monday night, the Town Council voted unanimously to
encourage the Redevelopment Commission to proceed apace with the Ind. 49
In other business, members voted 4-0 to approve a list of projects for this
season submitted by Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg. Total estimated
•Re-paving East Porter Ave. between Ind. 49 and the water tower. East Porter
Ave. beyond the water tower falls outside the TIF district. Estimated cost:
•Re-paving the southbound lane of North Calumet Road between Grant Ave. and
Indian Boundary Road. The northbound lane will be re-paved courtesy of
Indiana-American Water Company, which is currently installing a new water
main there. Estimated cost: $93,543.
•Replacing sidewalk along the west side of South Calumet Road from Lincoln
Ave. south to the alley; and along North Calumet Road from Grant Ave. to
Wabash Ave. Estimated cost: $12,000.
•Installing battery backup for two traffic signals along Indian Boundary
Road east of Ind. 49. Estimated cost: $13,000.
•Upgrading the traffic signal at the intersection of South Calumet Road and
Broadway. Estimated cost: $12,500.
“I personally don’t see anything on this list that’s frivolous at all,”
Member Sharon Darnell said. “I see it as investing in our infrastructure.”
Member Jim Ton, on the other hand, wanted to be sure that asphalt prices for
the re-paving have been locked in at last year’s price, thanks to an
agreement earlier this year with the asphalt contractor. Schnadenberg said
that they have been. “That’s key to my support here, that we locked in those
prices,” Ton said.
“I’ve just gotten busier,” Schnadenberg joked after the vote.