PORTAGE | Some six years after it was originally proposed, Mel and Mark Gore are ready to move forward with their Cardinal Crossing residential development at the northwest corner of Willowcreek Road and County Road 700 North in the spring.
But, they told the city's Utility Services Board Wednesday they are upset the city has scrapped plans for a project that would alleviate flooding in the area.
"The previous administration developed plans to alleviate flash flooding on Willowcreek Road," Mel Gore told the board. "We've talked about this for two years. I would like to see this board eventually do this project."
Mark Gore told the board doing nothing will "prohibit growth" in the area, including the east side of Willowcreek Road, designated for commercial development.
"We do not believe that project has risen to any level of importance to us," Mayor James Snyder told the brothers, adding the board has undertaken many other projects and must prioritize how it spends its money.
The Willowcreek diversion ditch project is neither moving forward nor completely dead, explained Snyder and A.J. Monroe, community development director.
The project was proposed several years ago. A single bid was open more than a year ago for more than $500,000 to complete the project. However, they learned at the time, necessary permits had not been obtained nor had land been purchased.
Monroe estimated then the project could cost between $750,000 to $1 million to complete.
Permits were eventually acquired, but the city is in court over land acquisition.
Snyder said the board discussed the project during an executive session. A decision, but no formal vote, was made to put the project on hold, but not to formally cancel it in case the city decided it needed to be resurrected.
City Engineer John Hannon said he is starting a conversation with the Porter County Drainage Board on the issue. Much of the water causing the flooding is coming from property south of County Road 700 North into Portage.