Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor TIF board receives work plan for Westport Site

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Representatives from Holladay Properties presented a detailed work plan for the Westport Planned Unit Development (PUD) at the Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission meeting Wednesday.

The RDC hired Holladay Properties in May to be the master developer on the 32-acres across from the Town Hall on Ind. 149. The parcel contains 28-acres recently acquired from the Duneland School Corporation and the 4-acre site of Food Truck Square.

A.J. Monroe, of Holladay, said the plan is a way of articulating how the company will prepare plans for the site over the next 14-months with the end goal being that the land is ready for sale and the Town has a set of buildable plans for it.

The plan shows each step of the process, who is responsible for it, when certain boards or commissions will need to take action, and on what dates deliverables are forthcoming. Monroe said the next deliverable the RDC will see is a PUD ordinance platting/market study of the property and the associated scope of work and fees by Friday, July 19. After that, work slows down until the Burns Harbor Comprehensive Plan is updated in August.

Following the Comprehensive Plan Update is contract approval for the PUD/ordinance platting and market study and an 8-week visioning phase by the project team. In November, an 8-week PUD concept plan phase begins. Holladay plans to have the completed concept plan and receive feedback from the Plan Commission by March 2020 and apply for the primary plat in April 2020.

Food Truck Square

Board member Toni Biancardi reported Food Truck Square next week will have the regular activities: music, a bounce house, and food. Leroy’s is confirmed as a food vendor, and Los Mamacitas is planned, but not yet confirmed.

Biancardi said the Chamber has thrown around some new ideas--including having a touch-a-truck event, holding a bags tournament, and making smores. Biancardi also said she asked the Chamber to ramp up promoting FTS on Facebook.

RDC President Eric Hull noted attendance was good last month, until rain started. The Board agreed to “ride it out and see how it goes” this year with FTS, which sparked a discussion.

Burns Harbor resident Sarah Oudman asked if they meant riding out the Chamber’s management of FTS or the event itself--Board member Ray Poparad said the event itself.

Hull noted that Oudman may see the fun happening at the events but doesn’t see the bills that come in, and FTS brings in absolutely no revenue: “You’ve got expenses. There is nothing that is offsetting those expenses.”

Hull said this year the RDC spent less than $10,000 on FTS, but in previous years has spent approximately $20,000., also without profit. Hull and Poparad said the RDC has to consider whether or not FTS is the best use of available funds, or if the community could benefit from that money elsewhere. “As long as there’s participation, we can continue to support it, to a point, but where do you draw the line? How long to you keep putting money in it if you’re not recouping any money?”, Hull said.

DSC Contribution

Clerk-treasurer Jane Jordan reported the Board’s twice-yearly donation of some of its Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue to the Duneland School Corporation has hit a hitch since state law mandated new school budget practices.

Jordan said she used to calculate how much money the Redevelopment Commission contributed to DSC based on how hard DSC’s capital projects fund was hit by lost property tax income from the Burns Harbor TIF area. Since a state law mandated the consolidation of all of DSC’s separate funds into two large funds, calculating the sum that way isn’t possible.

The Board directed RDC Attorney Clay Patton to contact DSC to coordinate how the donations are calculated going forward. The Board’s next payment is due Aug. 15, per the agreement with DSC. The last payment was approximately $54,000 in February.

Marquette Greenway

Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers reported she’s complying with requirements related to the RDC’s grants for the Burns Harbor portion of the Marquette Greenway Trail while she waits to hear from SEH of Indiana about design documents that are scheduled to be done this month.

Rongers said she’s continuing with quarterly reports related to the Congestion, Mitigation, and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant, and she’s started receiving communication about getting reimbursements from the Department of Natural Resources Recreational Trails Program (RTP). She’s still waiting on the guidelines for the Next Level Trails Grant.

In related business, the Board approved a $10,200 lump-sum contract with SEH for an environmental study on 50-acres of land the Town is getting from ArcelorMittal as a donation for Phase 1 of the Greenway. “We need this to protect our assets before we take possession of the land,” Patton said. The most recent study ArcelorMittal commissioned on the land was in 2016.

Good of the Order

Board member Brad Enslen asked Rongers to look into the details of funding for Transit-Oriented Developments. Rongers said she isn’t sure how Burns Harbor could qualify, but she has looked into it before and will continue researching.

The RDC received its June TIF revenue ($501,348.13) and tax abatement fees ($267,070.89).



Posted 7/12/2019




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