PORTAGE | The gavel and the torch were passed at 2013’s first meeting of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission on Thursday.
Crown Point Mayor David Uran was elected chairman, replacing Geof Benson of the Beverly Shores Town Council.
Other NIRPC officers elected for 2013 include Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor, vice chairman; LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo, treasurer; and James Ton of the Chesterton Town Council, secretary.
Executive board members for 2013 are Dave Decker, a new appointment from the LaPorte Board of Commissioners; Bob Schaefer, Long Beach Town Council; Porter County Commissioner Nancy Adams; Don Ensign, Hebron Town Council; Roosevelt Allen Jr., Lake County Commissioner; East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland; and Chet Dobis, Indiana Governor appointee.
It was also the last meeting for John Swanson, retiring NIRPC executive director, and the first for Swanson’s replacement, Ty Warner, who came aboard at the regional planning commission two weeks ago.
Warner thanked Swanson for making the transition easy, and said he is “extremely impressed with the staff.”
“John is a class act,” he said.
Warner also said the many efforts and cooperation throughout Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties he’s seen during the transition “bodes to exciting times ahead. It’s important for NIRPC to seize that opportunity.”
Among the efforts highlighted at the full commission meeting was a presentation on the impact of tourism on the region by the Northern Indiana Tourism Development Commission.
A video highlighting NIRPC’s 2040 Comprehensive Plan was also shown during the meeting. The video will be shown later this year at the American Planning Association conference in Washington, D.C.
The comprehensive plan for Northwestern Indiana will receive the 2013 Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan at that conference.
In other business, the full NIRPC Commission:
* Heard the Northwest Indiana Economic Development District has finally received a planning grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and is applying for a three-year operational grant to hire staff. Allen reported that the NWIEDD already has 42 projects to consider and will accept new projects at any time. The agency was formed to take advantage of federal money that goes only to public/private partnerships.
* Approved three local roadway reconstruction projects in Cedar Lake, LaPorte County and Portage for NIRPC’s Transportation Improvement Program.