Valparaiso will tear down dome, seek commercial development for site
BY AMY LAVALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent February 5, 2014 4:36PM
Updated: February 6, 2014 1:30PM
VALPARAISO — The former Natural Ovens dome on the city’s southeast side will be coming down.
The Porter County Board of Commissioners moved to transfer the tax certificate for the property to the city of Valparaiso, with the goal of having the long-empty dome demolished and the property — with new commercial development — returned to the tax rolls.
The dome went up around 2000 and housed a Natural Ovens Bakery facility and then Livemercial. That firm has been inactive since 2012, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s website.
The structure, with about $1.4 million in back taxes, did not fetch any bidders at the county’s October tax sale, attorney Patrick Lyp, who is representing the city said at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting. He first approached commissioners about the transfer in August.
The city will arrange to demolish the structure, and also will pick up the tab, estimated at around $400,000. The city also will still own the property, Lyp said, and will sell it only for commercial development.
“We want to put it back on the tax rolls so we all benefit,” he said.
In other business:
Commissioners tabled until next meeting a decision to rezone about 30 acres south of The Brassie Golf Club from light industrial to residential use.
The proposal, for a single-family residence subdivision, won approval from the plan commission last month, but commissioners wanted proof of a commitment from the town of Chesterton to provide sewer service.
Sewer service is required by the residential zoning classification being sought.
Developer Donald Coker said he’s meeting with Chesterton officials Feb. 17, at which time he hopes to get a formal agreement.
“If I don’t get sewer, I don’t want the development,” he said.
The Porter County Expo Center, the Memorial Opera House, and the Porter County Museum will each receive $17,720, their share of $89,100 collected through the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission’s innkeeper tax. The remaining $35,940 goes to the county park department.
The money is to be used for promoting activities at those venues.
Commissioners approved a contract of up to $15,000 with Umbaugh and Associates, which has done financial analysis for the county, to help with a fee structure and other matters in establishing a new stormwater district for unincorporated parts of the county.
Now, farmers with regulated ditches pay a tax on those, and those funds can be used only for those projects. Solving the county’s most pressing drainage problems would cost about $30 million.