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Estimate for Portage street department facility trimmed from $7M to $4M

Updated: May 29, 2013 6:17AM



The Portage Redevelopment Commission heard some good news at its Wednesday meeting, with commission adviser John Shepherd reporting that the previous $7 million cost estimate to construct a new street department facility has been revised to $4 million.

The Skillman Corp. of Portage serves as construction manager for the project and they prepared the new, lower construction cost estimates.

The redevelopment commission will ultimately be responsible for $3.5 million with the city’s Utility Board picking up the remaining $500,000 of the cost for the project.

The commission authorized Shepherd to begin preparing bond documents, which should be ready in about two months. The commission will repay the bond using existing sources of revenue so no tax increase is anticipated.

NiSource is interested in acquiring a portion of the Cohen Trust property that the commission recently acquired. Late last year the commission bought 120 acres of land from Lionel Cohen. About 35 acres along Old Stagecoach Road is in a near wilderness condition, according to Shepherd, and NiSource will purchase the property to preserve its existing characteristics.

Commission member Greg Lach expressed concerns about a drainage ditch on the property that, if unmaintained, could lead to drainage issues with adjoining property owners.

Shepherd sought, and received, approval to proceed with a property survey and appraisal of the property.

Charles Ewen was granted a license to farm a 55-acre portion of the Cohen property in addition to existing properties already under license. Ewen will pay the commission $4,620 to farm the properties, which he has been doing for about 25 years, Shepherd said.



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