PORTER | The town moved one step closer Tuesday to setting a TIF district for the old Splash Down Dunes property.
The property has been bought by Utah-based Seven Peaks and will be called Seven Peaks Porter. An opening is scheduled for Memorial Day.
The Porter Redevelopment Commission unanimously approved a resolution during its meeting to expand the TIF area to include the water park, gas station and sliver of property between the two facilities. The area is between Waverly Road and the east end of the park and the north boundary of the park and U.S. 20.
“We want to do some fiber optics and roadway improvements, and we can capture the increase in property taxes as a result of the water park," Redevelopment Commission President Elka Nelson said. "We want to improve (U.S.) 20 so we can entice more technology and business to the (U.S.) 20 corridor."
The resolution will be sent to the Plan Commission in October for its recommendation and will then go to the Town Council, which will hold a public hearing in November before voting.
Also Tuesday, resident Terry Gault told the Town Council during its meeting that she would start a petition to support Park Superintendent Jim Miller. Gault questioned the council about a recent controversy regarding his employment and the Park Board.
Miller submitted his end-of-year resignation in June and retracted it in August. The Park Board has decided to accept the resignation, but not the retraction, which has caused some controversy.
Nelson, the council's vice president, said the Park Board is autonomous from the council. Council members can only state their preferences, but can’t enforce a decision. Council members had hoped for a resolution, she said.
Mike Barry, director of development, gave an update on the Porter Brickyard trail. One section through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore that was unpaved is now paved and signs are being added, along with a gate crossing and a handicap-accessible bridge.
Barry said crews are still in negotiations with a homeowner regarding finishing part of the trail at the bottom of a bridge and will soon pave that area. Workers also plan to add striping to the section at Howe Road, which will complete all work on the trail.
The council also awarded a contract for construction of the Porter Avenue lift station. The contract went to Grimmer Construction, of Highland, in the amount of $1.36 million.
The long-awaited lift station will eliminate overflows into the Little Calumet River from the far north end of Porter Avenue.