The checkered flag is now waving for the long-awaited construction of a truck stop outside Michigan City.
The final hurdle was jumped when the LaPorte County Commissioners last week granted final approved to the site plan for Love’s Travel Stops.
Matt Reardon with the LaPorte County Office of Economic and Community Development said the facility, on a 10-acre parcel along U.S 421 just south of Interstate 94, could start going up in the spring.
Municipal water and sewer lines have to be run underneath Interstate 94 to the site before construction begins.
Reardon said proposals for extending the utilities, estimated to have a cost of $4.5 million, are being sought.
“It should produce some very viable bids for the project for us to review,” he said.
Reardon said a federal economic development grant is being sought to pay for 80% of the water and sewer line extensions up front.
The balance would be covered by tax dollars generated by an increase in property value created by the $16 million to $18 million truck stop.
If the grant application is turned down, Reardon said the additional tax revenue would be enough to finance the project through a bond issue.
Businesses committed to tying into the utilities have contributed money toward the cost, he said.
About 50 people will be employed full time at the truck stop, said Frank Ille, manager of development at Love’s Travel Stops.
Ille said the truck stop will fill a gap between truck stops owned by the company in Gary and about 150 miles to the east in Marshall, Michigan.
“We are extremely excited about this location,” he said.
Officials believe access to municipal water and sewer will attract other commercial development, including hotels and restaurants south of the interchange.
The new Franciscan Health hospital and hotels already exist on the north side of the interchange.
A walk through downtown Crown Point
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