Porterís Redevelopment Commission dealt with several matters Tuesday
including a survey tied to a new downtown master plan, a possible expansion
of Porterís TIF allocation area, and a report on the feasibility of drainage
improvements to State Park Road.
RDC president Elka Nelson said of the downtown community survey, ďItís not a
vote. Itís for input and feedback until we take the next step forward.Ē
Part of the new master plan is to define what Porterís downtown is.
Consultant SEH could propose changes or no changes, said Nelson. ďWeíre open
to as much feedback as we can get.Ē
Planned within the next seven to 14 days is posting the survey on the Porter
town website so residents can digitally respond; hard copies of the survey
also will be available at the town hall. Nelson invited the public to email
her with questions.
Porter officials are developing plans for the Gateway to the Indiana Dunes
tourism/economic development project along the Indiana 49/U.S. 20 corridors,
but the intent all along has been to strengthen and promote Porterís
downtown rather than detract from it.
On another matter, the RDC is considering expanding its existing TIF
allocation area to include the former Splash Down Dunes waterpark, where its
planned purchase could mean up to $2 million in new upgrades there.
The current TIF allocation area includes all of Porterís downtown and some
of the properties adjacent to U.S. 20 including Worthington Steel, said
Porter financial consultant Dan Botich of Cender & Co.
Nelson said current RDC members are doing preliminary factfinding. The
previous Porter administration proposed a TIF expansion but thereís no
record of one being passed and completed, she noted.
Botich gave a brief overview of the complex tax-increment financing or TIF
process that allows Porterís RDC to capture the value of new improvements
above the base assessment of a certified date. Porterís current TIF captures
$45.6 million in value and sets it aside for Porter and apart from other
That means Porterís RDC, not the Town Council, receives about $1 million a
year, said Botich, compared to only $22,000 that would be raised in the
townís cumulative fund if TIF were not in place. ďNot a bad deal,Ē he
Botich said the RDC can choose not to capture all the assessed valuation
possible, and an RDC can return a portion of its TIF collection to schools
as Valparaiso does to defray the impact to a schoolís capital projects
Nelson asked if TIF money can be used for technology infrastructure; Botich
said yes, as long as it is in or serves an allocation area.
Also Tuesday, the RDC voted to increase the original $45,000 contract with
Global Engineering and Land Surveying to a maximum $74,000 for an ongoing
hydraulic study of State Park Road between Waverly Road and Indiana 49.
The intent of the study is to determine how best to make drainage
improvements to the road. Nelson said State Park is heavily traveled.
Hesham Khalil of Global said a delineation has been completed and wetlands
are very close to the road so it would be difficult to do any construction
without affecting them. Additionally, State Park doesnít have right-of-way
all the way east to Indiana 49. He said one option is to build a new road
between Waverly and 49 about 800 feet south of State Park on a platted but
business, the RDC voted 5-0 to approve purchase of land tied to ongoing
projects but on the recommendation of director of development Michael Barry
agreed to schedule a closed executive session to discuss other parcels