The Indiana Supreme Court brought an end Wednesday to Porter County's attempts to withdraw as a member of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.
The court voted 4-1 not to accept the county's request to hear the case, following the county's defeat at the state appellate court level.
"It's time to move forward," said Porter County Council member Laura Blaney, D-at-large, who helped trigger the attempted withdrawal in April 2009. The move resulted in a legal battle with the council losing at both the trial and appellate court levels.
Blaney said she gained a little more hope as a result of the council agreeing in November to rejoin the RDA by filling its vacant seat at the table with hotel developer Jeffrey Good.
While pleased with Wednesday's ruling, RDA Executive Director Bill Hanna said the case already was becoming history.
"We've already moved past this issue," he said.
That was made possible by the council's appointment of Good, along with the re-establishment of communication between the RDA and the County Council and commissioners, Hanna said.
The County Council voted to leave the RDA and stop sending its $3.5 million in annual dues four years into the process, citing concerns the RDA had lost its focus of supporting large, regional projects.
Porter County has received more than $9 million for construction of a lakefront park in Portage, $1.8 million for the ChicaGo Dash bus service and a commitment of more than $18 million for an improvement project extending south from the entrance of Indiana Dunes State Park.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, whose office defended the RDA, said Wednesday, "With the conclusion of the litigation, it's time everyone work together for the benefit of the people of Northwest Indiana."
Porter County Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st, said he believes the ruling is a good thing and agrees it's time to move on.
RDA Chairman Leigh Morris said he was pleased the issue has been put to rest and voiced hope that the focus now can be placed on the important mission of the RDA.