Three locations want to host NIRPC/NWI Forum

2013-05-09T18:00:00Z Three locations want to host NIRPC/NWI ForumBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

A Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission committee has narrowed offers for a NIRPC headquarters location to just three, including its current building at 6100 Southport Road in Portage.

NIRPC's Finance and Personnel Committee met Wednesday and eliminated two of five proposed sites, according to NIRPC attorney David Hollenbeck.

The three locations under consideration are at 5243 Hohman Ave. in downtown Hammond, proposed by Three Corners Development; a location in the Thomas Rose Industrial Park in LaPorte, proposed by Space Center Inc.; and the current building, which is owned by the Portage Redevelopment Commission.

The Finance and Personnel Committee hopes to have a recommendation to submit for approval by the full NIRPC board at its May 23 meeting, Hollenbeck said.

NIRPC's lease for 15,000 square feet at 6100 Southport Road expires at the end of this year. The planning commission, which has 27 employees, has been housed there since 1993.

The Northwest Indiana Forum, an economic development group, occupies about 4,000 square feet in the same building and participated in NIRPC's request for proposals for new space.

NIRPC Executive Director Tyson Warner said hopes remain high the two organizations can remain in the same building. Although NIRPC is a public body and the Forum is private, they cooperate on economic initiatives such as the Northwest Indiana Economic Development District.

"We would love to stay co-located," Warner said. "The public and private sector working together, that has worked out very well."

The Finance and Personnel committee is using five criteria to evaluate the three sites, Hollenbeck said. Those are price, location, availability, environmental attributes and telecommunication access.

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.


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