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water and sewer extension moving forward

Thursday, March 29, 2018 17:17 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

The method of financing has been established for a $4.5 million dollar extension of water and sewer lines for development of a truck stop and other prospective growth along Interstate 94 outside Michigan City.

The LaPorte County Redevelopment Commission Wednesday voted to include the area targeted for growth into an existing tax increment financing district.

The process will now begin for expanding the district boundaries south across Interstate 94 along U.S 421, said Shaw Friedman, attorney for the RDC.

RDC also retained various firms to perform the engineering and construction management for the utility extension and securing a bond issue to pay for the project.

Tax money generated by higher property values from new business growth within the expanded TIF will be used to finance the debt.

LaPorte County Planner Mitch Bishop said extending water and sewer lines underneath I-94 to the proposed 50 acre development site could start before the end of the year.

The extension of utilities was put on a fast track after Tony Vendramin, a developer from Chesterton, reported February 14 a truck stop chain, name brand hotels, restaurants and retailers were ready to start going up at a site close to the old Waste Management landfill.

Vendramin said all they needed was access to municipal utilities and would look elsewhere if that were not possible.

''We have had a lot of inquiries about that land out there,'' said Mike Seitz, director of economic development for LaPorte County.

Water and sewer also opens the door for even more additional growth and turning the old landfill into a recreational facility.

Possible amenities include zip lines, alpine sledding and a bird watching platform.

The Michigan City Sanitary District is also exploring accepting leachate from the old dump.

Michael Kuss, superintendent of the MCSD, said preliminary data from Waste Management indicates the leachate would be safe to treat.

Kuss said he's waiting for more information, though, before making a final decision on whether liquid from the buried trash can be safely taken into the system
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