CHESTERTON | Emerson DeLaney, Chesterton Town Council president, says officials have been working for years toward smart growth and those efforts are paying off with recent developments in the town.
Besides the recent announcement Urschel Laboratories, a food cutting equipment manufacturer, chose Chesterton for its world headquarters, officials have focused on medical sector development.
“In March of 2012, the Franciscan Alliance opened the Chesterton Health and Emergency Center. They offer preventative health and emergency services 24 hours a day. This was a $22 million investment into our community," DeLaney said.
"Also this year, Addison Point Health and Rehabilitation Center opened — a nursing facility with 60 private suites. Along with this came a 10-year tax abatement. But one of the prerequisites to this was that Chesterton residents with the proper credentials would be given an opportunity for a position there. Construction started in October 2012 on the (Ind.) 49 utility corridor, and of course this is a partnership with the county in anticipation of future development down around the new Porter Regional Hospital.”
Phase One of construction on the Ind. 49 utility corridor will include sanitary sewer (both gravity and forced main), as well as a fiber optics conduit that will run alongside Ind. 49, tying into existing sanitary sewer and going south through property owned by I-80 Partners LLC and the Pope Farm.
Phase two, which is backed by the county, will bring this access even further south of the Toll Road to a parcel of land just south of the new Porter Regional Hospital, a stretch of land eyed by county planners as vital to development.
“It’s a big deal for the county, and the hospital project is the largest development we've seen since Bethlehem Steel, and now we’ll see development along this corridor," said Nick Walding, the Town Council president during negotiations. "We’re getting out ahead of it before it happens, and we’re planning and doing it the right way.”
Meanwhile, there is plenty of activity downtown with plans for economic development and infrastructure upgrades.
“The designated riverfront district in our town has proven fruitful as restaurants have opened and more people are looking," DeLaney said. The Chesterton utility department is overseeing installation of a new 1.2 million gallon storage tank, a mandated long-term control plan by IDEM to help reduce sewage overflows into the Little Calumet River. Work also is progressing on the Dickinson Road extension and the lift station behind Val’s Pizza, he said.
Chesterton is always a bustling place all year long, especially with the plethora of family events.
“We have many festivals such as the Wizard of Oz Festival, the Frontline Foundation Hooked on Art Festival, the Chamber of Commerce Party in the Park, the Taste of Duneland, downtown trick-or-treating, and more. These were all a huge hit last year, and we look forward to continuing to bring great events to residents and visitors,” DeLaney said.