What’s the latest with the NewPorte Landing Remediation?
The Redevelopment Commission has conducted Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Assessments for the bulk of land within NewPorte Landing over the past several years. In 2016, remediation on the large parcel bordered by NewPorte Blvd, N Madison, Truesdell Ave, and Clear Lake Blvd was completed with targeted removals and a soil cap. A Site Status Letter was issued by IDEM permitting commercial use of that area. The Redevelopment Commission is currently remediating the area north of the roundabout bordered by Clear Lake Blvd, Truesdell Ave, and Hoelocker Dr. This is a much more intensive process, requiring major removals of buried tractor parts, old barrels of Allis-Chalmers orange paint, spilled paint mixed with soil, and construction debris; scraping top layers of soil that contain foundry sands (a byproduct of steelmaking that was historically used as fill throughout the region); and replacement with clean fill. Once this remediation is complete, IDEM will issue Site Status or Comfort Letters permitting a residential use for the site. The Redevelopment Commission will continue to remediate land as needed throughout NewPorte Landing as funds are available.
What can we do to reduce the impacts of the railroad?
The City of La Porte, Redevelopment Commission, and other downtown partners are all interested in pursuing a quiet zone for the Norfolk Southern tracks that run through La Porte. A quiet zone would eliminate train horns throughout downtown by making safety improvements to the at-grade crossings to make it much more difficult to cross tracks when gates are down. We hope to pursue the first step of creating a quiet zone—a study by a knowledgeable contractor that presents potential crossing improvements and cost estimates—very soon. The quiet zone will be aided by the construction of a new grade-separated crossing at Tipton/Park St, made possible by a state grant of over $6 million from the new LocalTrax program. The proposed Tipton overpass designed by engineers selected by the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and we expect to find out more about the design and which roads will be closed soon. At the very least, we expect the conversion of Tipton/Park to an overpass and the closure of the at-grade crossing at Pulaski St. Additionally, we expect at-grade pedestrian improvements at Tyler St as part of the proposed Chessie Trail crossing in that location.
What is happening with the current hospital once the new one opens?
The current La Porte hospital will need to be demolished and the site repurposed. We hope to use this planning process to discover what future uses will best serve the La Porte community and develop site plan alternatives for the Hospital to consider.
Why is the focus on the “heart” of La Porte?
La Porte’s current comprehensive plan, as defined by state statute, is the 2008 Countywide Land Development Plan. We are due for an update to the plan, and although we do not currently have sufficient staff to complete an update in house, nor funds to hire outside help, we are looking for ways to address this issue. The Heart of La Porte Plan was generously funded by the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL) and the Redevelopment Commission. The plan supports HFL’s goal of increasing healthy living in our community. Likewise, the plan will aid the La Porte Redevelopment Commission to focus their redevelopment efforts in TIF 1 (Central Business District) on projects that have the greatest positive impact for the community.