NIRPC moving forward on possible move

2013-03-20T13:30:00Z 2013-03-21T16:32:33Z NIRPC moving forward on possible moveBy Keith Benman keith.benman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3326 nwitimes.com

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission will issue a request for proposals next week that could lead to it moving out of its headquarters in Portage for new digs.

Any community or entity that thinks they have space that fits the criteria outlined in the request for proposals will be able to put their building or building space forward for consideration, said Finance and Personnel Committee Chair Blair Milo.

The proposals will be scored and evaluated based on criteria such as price, telecommunications access, location and others, she said at Thursday's meeting of the NIRPC executive board in Portage.

NIRPC has occupied its current headquarters at 6100 Southport Road since 1993, when it moved there from Highland.

The organization leases 15,000 square feet of space there from the Portage Redevelopment Commission, which owns the building. The lease runs out at the end of this year. Rent is $18,800 per month.

The Portage Redevelopment Commission has not yet signaled if it will submit a proposal to keep NIRPC in the building, according to NIRPC attorney David Hollenbeck.

The remaining 4,000 square feet of space at 6100 Southport Road is rented by the Northwest Indiana Forum. That lease also runs out at the end of this year. The forum may move with NIRPC or may consider other options, said Finance and Personnel Committee member David Shafer. He said NIRPC is being careful about any potential move.

"It's something that has a big impact," Shafer said. "We've been here for 20 years. And it could impact us for the next 20 years."

Milo said communities and other entities will have 30 days to respond with proposals. The Finance and Personnel Committee plans to recommend three proposals for consideration by the full NIRPC board. The board could make a decision at its May meeting.

NIRPC serves as a metropolitan planning organization for transportation in Porter, Lake, and LaPorte counties. It also serves as a regional council of governments with planning responsibilities for economic development and land use.

The organization has 27 employees and a 2013 budget of $3.62 million.

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