PORTAGE | The city's Redevelopment Commission will invest some $7 million this year in Portage's downtown.
That will include construction of a new fire station, improvements to Founder's Square Park and roadway and parking improvements to the Portage Mall area.
Development at Founder's Square Park will include a restroom/mechanical building, an approximate 2,500- to 3,000-square-foot splash pad, eight-foot-wide sidewalks, fencing, landscaping and installation of electrical outlets along the perimeter for events, according to A.J. Monroe, director of community development. The cost is estimated at $1.5 million.
The RDC approved a supplemental contract with DLZ of Hammond to complete the design of the park and is expected to authorize bidding on construction in March with contracts awarded in May and substantial completion by the end of the year.
Monroe said Portage has been working with Indiana American Water, which owns much of the property within the park. The splash pad and restroom/mechanical building was moved from the southeast to the northwest corner of the park per that agreement.
Monroe said a proposed pavilion/amphitheater has been moved from the park site to a lot to the south. It is not part of this project, he said, but could be addressed, even possibly constructed, this year.
A new fire station will be constructed on Central Avenue at the intersection with Adam Harting Way.
The RDC also hired DLZ as the architect/engineering firm for the project. The new fire station will replace Fire Station 3, currently in City Hall. The station will contain four bays and living space for crews. The project is estimated to cost $3.5 million.
Monroe said they hope to award contracts this summer and begin construction in the fall with occupancy by summer of 2015.
In addition, the parcel of land just to the east of the new station, will become a municipal parking lot. A parcel of land between the new station and the University Center will become a plaza.
Completion of these projects, Monroe said, will mark the completion of three full city blocks of downtown redevelopment.
The third large project expected to be undertaken this year will be the Central Avenue Business District Phase 2 project. That will extend Vivian Street north into the Portage Mall and finish and expand parking in the area.
The cost is estimated at $2.5 million, Monroe said, adding a start date has not yet been set because property acquisition is not completed.