Lake Station councill to discuss approving $1.9 million in bonds

2013-06-24T20:17:00Z 2013-06-24T23:36:10Z Lake Station councill to discuss approving $1.9 million in bondsDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | The City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in special session to consider final approval for two proposed bond issues totaling around $1.9 million, officials said. 

The Park Board already has approved issuing the two bonds, Mayor Keith Soderquist said.

"Basically we are affirming what the Park Board already did," Soderquist said.

One of two bonds, for $1.1 million, will be used to pay off a $965,300 judgment stemming from an 11-year legal battle pitting the city of Lake Station against a Gary engineering firm.

In the final court ruling, Lake Station officials were ordered to pay IAE Consulting Engineers $965,300, Soderquist said.

The amount represents money the firm never received for designing roads and bridges in Lake Station that never were built, officials said.

The lawsuit against Lake Station was based on a 1990 contract to provide designs and plans for extensions of 15th Avenue and Grand Boulevard as well as bridges over the Borman Expressway and Little Calumet River.

Soderquist said the contract stipulated that payment to IAE Consulting Engineers would not be made unless funding for the project was approved. It was not approved because the project was in a protected wetlands area.

In addition to the $1.1 million bond, city officials are also bonding for $800,000 which will be earmarked for improvements to the Field of Dreams park and other city parks, Soderquist said.

The two bonds, incorporating an existing 2005 loan, will be refinanced at a lower rate.

"We're refinancing an old park bond at a 2.5 percent rate from around 5 percent we're now paying," City Attorney Ray Szarmach said.

Improvements to the Field of Dreams, which will be made this summer, include adding new playground equipment and a skate park, Soderquist said.

Improvements also will be made to the parking lot and tennis courts at Riverview Park. Issuing the bonds won't mean an additional tax for residents.

"It's not an additional tax since these monies are within the tax caps. Tax bills will not go up," Soderquist said.

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