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Rural charm making way for progress in Washington Township

Updated: January 24, 2013 6:25AM



VALPARAISO — An upscale apartment and business park project off Evans Avenue is likely just the beginning of changes ahead in the Indiana 49 corridor in Washington Township.

The city, county, and the Porter County Regional Airport have initiated studies for land use in the once-rural township.

The Valparaiso City Council, despite objections from neighbors, approved a $50 million apartment complex and business park Dec. 17.

The Airport Zone Development Study, which would identify the best areas for possible business development within 15 miles surrounding the airport, is supposed to present draft studies early in 2013.

The idea for the Airport Zone Development Study came from the Valparaiso Economic Development Corp. because of the lack of “shovel-ready” sites, said airport director Kyle Kuebler.

The plan would allow the airport, county and Valparaiso to review the future for the area.

Residents around the airport have concerns about how development will affect property values and a way of life.

Russell Gluth, who’s lived about a mile east of the airport for 20 years,said he and his neighbors are concerned about the growing industrial aspects and talk of an intermodal facility in their neighborhoods.

The land across from the saddle shop on U.S. 30 has been clear cut recently, and he’s concerned whether growth is happening for the sake of growth.

“I was born and raised in the city and moved out to the country, and the city’s coming in little by little,” Gluth said. “Washington Township is little bit by little bit getting picked away at.”

Meanwhile, the Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission has received a joint proposal from two consulting firms for an Indiana 49 corridor study. It would look at land use and zoning for the strip of land east of Indiana 49 between U.S. 6 and U.S. 30.

The Valparaiso Site Review Committee just received preliminary plans for a Gordman’s department store and Hobby Lobby to be built at Porter’s Vale shopping center.

At a meeting last month, Mayor Jon Costas called the land east of Indiana 49 between Porter’s Vale and County Road 500N as a prime investment site.

“I’m not referring to more retail stores but the type of investment that creates good jobs for our children and grandchildren,” Costas said.



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