Porter, Portage Eye Lakefront Development

Portage officials got a look yesterday at preliminary plans for further development of the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, the first successful RDA-funded lakeshore project.

Greg Calpino of SEH of Munster provided a report on two north side enhancement projects involving the park and some 40 acres to the south.

Project 1, said Calpino, looks at necessary repairs and maintenance at Portage Lakefront. It identified 16 potential projects, ranging from improving the entry drive to trail extensions and landscaping. It also looked at the operations and maintenance agreement between the city and National Park Service, which owns the land.

Calpino said it will take up to five years to address the projects. The next step will be approving a priority list, emphasizing visitor safety and comfort, outlining which projects should be completed first.

Project 2, he said, is a longer-range project, itself divided into five phases, that would add parking, trail links, pavilion space and camping to property now owned either by the Redevelopment Commission or Portage Parks Foundation south of the Precoat Metals building to U.S. 12. The area includes a U.S. Steel maintenance building and training facility. The area is not within the NPS boundaries.

The first phase, which could cost $1 million, would include additional parking and trails north to the lakefront site and south to the South Shore access. A second phase would involve improving access to the park’s entry, including landscaping, signs and markers to more closely identify the park site.

Also, in the nearby town of Porter, the $19 million Gateway to the Dunes project, another RDA initiative, is moving ahead on two fronts.

The Town of Porter advanced two projects Tuesday tied to the Gateway to the Indiana Dunes development plan.

Meeting separately, the Town Council and the Redevelopment Commission accepted an interlocal agreement with involved agencies for Porter to maintain the new Dunes Kankakee Trail spur from the Indiana Dunes State Park to the Porter County Visitor Center.

The Porter boards also approved an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation to replace the traffic signals at U.S. 20 and Tremont Road including decorative poles at the intersection.

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