Valpo will get plan for growth along Indiana 49
By James D. WOlf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent January 20, 2013 6:34PM
Updated: February 22, 2013 6:22AM
VALPARAISO — A plan for how growth will happen along Indiana 49 within city limits should be ready in six months, and the city should be in possession of a detailed version two months after that.
The plan will detail development from U.S. 6 to the intersection with Indiana 2, concentrating on the area about three-quarters of a mile east of Indiana 49.
The Valparaiso Redevelopment Commission last week entered into a contract with planning firms American Structurepoint Inc. engineers of Indianapolis and Kendig Keast Collaborative of Texas.
Redevelopment Commission Executive Director Stu Summers began talking with Mayor Jon Costas about having a detailed plan in October.
With the country coming out of a recession, there’s development happening, and “a lot of it is along that 49 corridor,” Summers said.
Having a plan would avoid the hodgepodge development seen along U.S. 30 between Valparaiso and Hobart or the Kokomo bypass, he said.
The plan wouldn’t address land south of Indiana 2 because that would duplicate work being done in the Porter County Regional Airport corridor study.
The Indiana 49 corridor plan will address land use, open space, corridor preservation and utility needs.
The firms will work with the county to avoid zoning conflicts and will also talk with residents, as well as city officials and stakeholders.
City Planner Tyler Kent stated in a letter to the Redevelopment Commission that his department will rely on the plan to develop north-south roads, including whether Bartz Road is the best alternative for a major arterial street and whether the city needs a bridge over the railroad tracks to connect it to Porter’s Vale shopping center.
It would help plan land use should Valparaiso annex areas along the east side of 49 as part of what Kent described as the city’s business park and tech corridor.
Kent said the city’s Unified Development Ordinance provides for uses that aren’t allowed in the Indiana 49 area, and he would also like to see signs larger than the 6-foot-high monument styles signs allowed so traffic on 49 can read them more easily.
The Valparaiso Economic Development Corp. has pledged $50,000 toward the development plan, and the Valparaiso City Utilities Board is expected to approve a $20,000 contribution at its Jan. 22 meeting.
The Redevelopment Commission will pick up the rest of the study cost, which the two consultants reduced from $134,770 to $113,200 by scheduling some planned community meetings by video conference.
The commission is heading the study because it has a statutory duty to study the needs of development and redevelopment for a city, Summer said.
City Administrator Bill Oeding said it is a team effort, though, with himself, city engineering, city planning and the Economic Development Corp. participating.