PORTAGE | The Redevelopment Commission on Wednesday approved moving forward with design plans for the second phase of development of the property south of Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.
The commission approved a contract with SEH of Munster not to exceed $170,000.
The second phase of the development project includes land on the east side of the Burns Waterway, including the bridge over the waterway and the entrance road and bridge over U.S. 12 leading to the entrance of the park site and U.S. Steel.
Improvements will include waterway access and enhancements, intersection and bridge enhancements and streetscaping.
Member Steve Nelson expressed concern about spending money on designing improvements when the city doesn't own that property.
"Aren't we getting the cart before the horse?" Nelson asked, wondering if the city should purchase the property before completing design.
The property is owned by Porter County, Indiana Department of Transportation and U.S. Steel.
Director of Community Development A.J. Monroe said it is not the city's plan to purchase the property, but to seek rights of way and easements for the improvements.
Nelson said he was still concerned about taking the design to 100 percent and, what could happen then if the landowners did not approve of the city's plans.
Kerry Keith, of SEH, said they could design to a 30 percent completion point, stop and allow for review of all parties at that point.
Nelson said he approved of that idea and the commission approved the entire contract with the caveat that plans would be presented to all stakeholders when they reach the 30 percent completion mark.