The town of Porter, once inhabited by American Indians and settled by French fur traders and Swedish immigrants for its rich natural resources, was once used by brickyards for its proximity to railroads, and by industry for its location on the lake and rivers.
Now Porter is poised for the next phase of its history as it moves into the future, with bold plans and clear vision.
"I am very excited about the direction of our town," said Trevin Fowler, Town Council president. "The projects we have engaged in will further stabilize our community while retaining a unique and powerful identity I believe our people can be proud of."
These projects are part of the Ind. 49 Lakeshore Gateway Corridor Development Project. a $30 million plan that includes the Sub-Area Plan, also known as the Gateway to the Indiana Dunes.
It envisions developing a Dunes entrance into a natural landscape, guided by principles outlined in the Marquette Plan. The Ind. 49 reconstruction project involves the design, engineering and construction of Ind. 49 between Interstate 94 and the Indiana Dunes State Park.
The Gateway to the Indiana Dunes Alternative Transportation Study will analyze various methods of transporting residents and visitors between the many attractions along the corridor. And the Dunes Kankakee Trail project involves constructing the bike and pedestrian trail from U.S. 12 south to the intersection of Woodlawn Avenue and Calumet Road.
"There has been a recent comment in the media that the Gateway Project has been placed on a fast track with the RDA asking the town of Porter to get ready to move on to the next steps of this project," said Fowler.
"From a town leadership perspective, we view this as extremely positive. It also reinforces what we believe is a pattern of calculated and well-thought out planning and decision making. Town residents, citizens of Northwest Indiana, as well as state representatives have recognized the value and positive impact this project will have on our region."
The Gateway Project has been designed by town officials, department heads, public input, and consultants Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.
Another ongoing project eyed by the town of Porter is the Brickyard Development, also designed by SEH Inc. It will expand the existing downtown grid to include housing, walkable blocks with garages facing alleys in back, and on-street parking.
The development will offer a mix of housing types, open space and pedestrian circulation and a new fire station and municipal buildings. The development will be across from Yost Elementary School. The concept has been approved by Porter's Redevelopment Commission and is ready for the town's approval process.
The projects' impact should be felt for decades and promise to shape the town's economy.