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landfill into park hurdle crossed

Wednesday, September 05, 2018 15:59 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News


– A major hurdle has been crossed for redeveloping the former Waste Management landfill outside Michigan City into a major tourist destination.

A memorandum of understanding with the garbage hauler was approved Wednesday by the LaPorte County Commissioners.

Alpine sledding, zip lines, mountain bike trails are among the year-round offerings envisioned at the main entranceway to Michigan City along Interstate 94.

Judging by the round of golf he played at a former Waste Management dump in Munster, LaPorte County Commission president Rich Mrozinski sees a lot of potential for a first class facility here.

"It's amazing. Why not turn it into something worthwhile,'' Mrozinski said.

LaPorte County Planner Mitch Bishop said the MOU allows both sides to begin negotiations on a lease agreement that would provide public access to redeveloped areas of the landfill.

''We're talking. That's a good first step,'' Bishop said.

Bishop said another MOU allowing for a sewer extension to accept leachate from the landfill for disposal at Michigan City's waste water treatment plant should be approved before the end of the month.

Access to sewer was among the incentives for Waste Management to be open about redeveloping the dump, he said.

Centennial Park, a former Waste Management landfill in Munster, features a nine-hole golf course and other amenities like a clubhouse, soccer fields, banquet facilities and restaurant with outdoor seating.

There's also a playground, outdoor pavilions, an entertainment stage, dog park, walking trails, formal gardens, fishing and wide open natural spaces.

Jack Arnett, executive director of the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the facility sought here would especially fill a need during the cold weather months when the number of visitors decline substantially from the busy summer season.

''We're certainly 100-percent of the concept,'' Arnett said.

Bishop said the hope is to have the old landfill redeveloped in a couple of years.

He said the site becoming a destination point is part of a strategy to catch travelers before they reach Michigan with hotels, retail and a truck stop also planned nearby along the U.S 421 interchange.

''There's a synergy there potentially with those developments as well,'' Bishop said.
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