Chesterton Tribune

Wider sidewalks urged for Porter Beach project

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By PAULENE POPARAD

Porter Redevelopment Commission members were urged Tuesday by Porter Beach resident Roger Carnell to include wider sidewalks there in a package of planned improvements to be developed in partnership with the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Carnell said a foot-washer that drains into the street rather than the sand also causes an extreme problem in that area.

RDC president Michele Bollinger assured Carnell the sidewalks and foot-washer will be addressed in final plans to develop a picnic pavilion, accessible beach access, upgrades to the town parking lot and the addition of a town-operated concession stand.

Bollinger said funding improvements to the town lot will be significant because they include a better turnaround and a retaining wall to hold back the dune. The RDC agreed to seek funds through a Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant, for which consultant SEH is developing a project cost; the matter will be revisited Dec. 27.

Also Tuesday, by a 3-0 vote the commission agreed to pay $5,000 tied to a mortgage release on property the RDC seeks to purchase from Orchard Apartments for a planned Waverly Road hike/bike trail. A bridge over the Little Calumet River was erected for the trail years ago.

Porter director of engineering Matt Keiser said, weather permitting, initial sections of the pedestrian bridge over U.S. 20 for the Brickyard hike/bike trail will be set near Howe Road late this week. Daily updates will be provided when construction begins. The highway will remain open but brief temporary closures could occur.

In a semantic exercise the RDC voted to “accept” a report detailing the findings of new environmental testing at the 32-acre Brickyard property for which the RDC paid $350,000 three years ago. The RDC hired Weaver Boos to do the testing and received the results in September, but the commission forwarded them to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for comment without “accepting” it.

Tuesday, Keiser said IDEM questioned Weaver Boos’ methodology and assumptions and is asking the firm for additional information. Accepted or not, IDEM released the study to the public this fall when requested upon its receipt.

Keiser announced the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has agreed to reprogram funds for the town’s local match to acquire seven different parcels needed to upgrade Munson Ditch near Indiana 49. A Lake Michigan Coastal Program grant for the project has been extended until June 30, 2012.

 

Posted 12/15/2011