Valpo redevelopment panel targets U.S. 30 east of Indiana 49
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent August 8, 2012 9:22PM
Updated: September 10, 2012 1:40PM
VALPARAISO — Improvements could be easier for developers along the stretch of U.S. 30 between Hayes Leonard Road and Industrial Drive just east of Indiana 49.
The Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission included that area as part of the tax increment financing district on Wednesday, following City Council approval last month.
The commission can pay for improvements that increase taxes in a TIF area, and any increase in the property taxes will first go to pay off the improvements.
The first act for making improvements was approving a façade grant for the area.
The commission will reimburse half of outside improvements up to $25,000, and the grant fund has $100,000 available.
The grant will last until year’s end, and City Council liaison John Bowker said he’d like to see overlay standards for improvements along U.S. 30, similar to those the city put on the east end of Lincolnway, a step up from usual improvement requirements.
City Engineer Tyler Kent said he would look into the matter.
However, the commission also granted a façade improvement grant to Tulsi Hotels, which is renovating the empty hotel at 760 U.S. 30.
Tulsi Hotels managing member Rohit H. Patel said the company plans to make it an upscale boutique hotel.
Also, the commission approved increasing the amount of work for putting a traffic signal at the intersection of Indiana 49 and the roads that lead to Porter County Jail and North Coast Distributing.
The project was $29,000 less than expected, and the commission approved putting a concrete entrance to where Bertholet Boulevard meets Indiana 49.
The traffic light stopping trucks has caused the asphalt there to move in the hot weather.
The commission did hold off on some business at the meeting.
The members did not vote for the creation of a special improvement district on the University Promenade on University Drive.
The special district is so the commission can recover money spent on improvements if someone taking over the property is not-for-profit and thus tax-exempt.
Usually, the improvements mean higher property taxes, which pay for the improvements over time with the increase going solely to the city.
Summers said that while the current owner/developer of the property did not plan to attend Wednesday’s public hearing and vote, a letter informing him of the hearing arrived only 10 days before the meeting.
Although that is not legally required now, Summers said he did not want a new owner 15 years from now to dig into it.
The commission also put off a vote for engineering changes to the Burlington Beach Road/Calumet Avenue improvements.
Summers said he thought the engineering done for the improvements was not good enough.
The commission approved changes in the plan to widen the street at its last meeting, deciding instead to change signals and have a center turning lane.
This met with approval from concerned residents.