Valpo commission ponders path costs

2013-08-07T20:15:00Z 2013-08-07T20:43:33Z Valpo commission ponders path costsPhil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | The city's Redevelopment Commission decided Wednesday on a shorter pathway on Burlington Beach Road and is seeking designs for several missing links in the city's pathway system.

The Burlington Beach path was proposed to go from west of North Calumet Avenue to east of Ind. 49 at a total cost of $659,425, of which 80 percent would be eligible for federal funding.

City Engineering Director Tim Burkman said most of it could be built within the existing right of way, but a more scenic option that would take it farther from the road, making it safer, might be done for $535,925. He said the city might not be able to get 80 percent federal funding for this option but could complete it more quickly with local funds.

Stuart Summers, the commission's executive director, said the path is not one of the main links in the city's pathway master plan and initially would not connect to any of the existing paths. Also, two of the three property owners on the east side of Ind. 49 promised to fight the sale of their land needed for the path.

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, which oversees federal funding for local projects, prefers that pathways be included in road projects, such as the city plans on Burlington Beach in 2015. Summers said it might be wiser to spend local funds on pathways already in the plan.

Councilman Jan Dick, an avid bicyclist, said the planned Dunes Kankakee Trail route is being shifted off Ind. 49 by Porter and Chesterton, and he expects Valparaiso to do the same to get people into shopping districts. The Burlington Beach path could become part of that, but crossing Ind. 49 is not a safe path for bikers.

The commission decided extending the path east of Silhavy was not needed, which would reduce the overall cost to $386,913 and the city's share from $193,899 to $88,990.

The commission hired DLZ, a Hammond engineering consultant, to handle the right of way acquisition needed for the path along north side of Burlington Beach at a cost expected to be about $7,100 per parcel. The shorter path means a maximum of 13 parcels will be needed, and Summers said that might be reduced to 11 or 12.

DLZ also was hired at a cost not to exceed $30,000 to begin preliminary work on four missing link sections of pathway: Vale Park Road from Calumet to Silhavy; Calumet, from Burlington Beach to Bullseye Lake Road; Evans Avenue, from Silhavy to Pine Creek Road; and LaPorte Avenue from Silhavy to Porter's Vale Shopping Center.

The goal is to identify routes, obstacles and costs to have shovel-ready projects the city can use to pursue grants for construction.

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