CHESTERTON | The town of Chesterton was incorporated in 1869, built on the prosperity of the railroad, shipping and transportation routes of nearby rivers and Lake Michigan. Today, transportation is key to the success of Chesterton, with its intersections of major highways, toll roads and state roads.
Sharon Darnell, Town Council president, said there are many efforts the town is pursuing with the region's economic future in mind. Among those efforts is the development of sewage and stormwater utilities along Ind. 49 from the Indiana Toll Road south to U.S. 6.
"The most important thing regionally is the 49 utility corridor simply because it services more than one community. It's the county. The traffic artery is there and there's a good chance for development. The development in that direction is validated by the studies we've conducted. The groundwork was set in motion years ago. We have money in a tax increment fund and the TIF zone has been expanded to include utility infrastructure. Movement is only forward," Darnell said.
Bernie Doyle, Chesterton town manager, said among the highlights from the past year is the completion of the South Calumet Triangle, a southern entrance into Chesterton's business sector and downtown, in addition to utility work along South Calumet.
"We're now proceeding with Phase II," Doyle said. That phase includes separating stormwater and sanitary sewer.
"The Calumet utility separation and the downtown phase of that project will be able to service everything that comes along. It was an antiquated system and we're being proactive for the future," Darnell said.
Establishing a Downtown Riverfront District also was instrumental in attracting fine dining establishments, such as the new Octave Grill, through the offer of three-way liquor licenses.
Attracting business and the right kind of development is crucial, Doyle said. "We've seen St. Anthony's Hospital break ground over the past year on their emergency room facility, and we've paved the way for a long-term nursing care facility to come into town. Both of these projects translate to about 200 jobs for our region," he said.
Darnell said Chesterton's attractive location has led the medical sector, and other businesses, to seek out the town as a home.
The consolidation of town departments under one roof means ease of public use and streamlined communication. This building construction, known as the 15th Street Building, is nearing completion and will house the departments of town manager, engineer, stormwater, street and sanitation, central services, building, utilities and parks.
The town of Chesterton began as the crossroads of transportation routes in the 1800s and continues to develop and offer value economically because of its beneficial infrastructure.