Esthetics vs. the Environment, 6/18/2019 - A City Council vote is scheduled Tuesday on replacement lamp fixtures in Elston Grove. Some residents prefer “decorative” globes that scatter light into the sky instead of directing light downward where it illuminates sidewalks and streets. Directing light into the sky is a detriment to migrating birds and pollinators. Shining light into windows of houses and apartments disrupts sleep cycles. Directing light into the sky is a waste of money. The decision we make affects not only Elston Grove. The decision affects Michigan City, The Dunes National Park, the United States, and ultimately, our world.
Think globally, act locally.
Third Reading 5/21/2019, Park Smoking Ban - This ordinance bans smoking in city owned public parks in order to protect the public health and welfare, decrease smoking-related litter and to establish and reinforce smoke-free environments as a social norm.
Second Reading 3/5/2019, Sustainability Ordinance - This ordinance seeks to establish a Sustainability Commission charged with coordinating communication between agencies, departments, commissions, and boards working on sustainability issues and education, performing outreach and coordinating grant development, providing information about current and planned local environmental projects and reporting on all environmental data collected and projects implemented by the City or region.
Updates to Zoning Ordinance - The amendments by the Planning and Zoning Committee (http://www.emichigancity.com/cityhall/departments/planning/pdf/121718.pdf) were approved by the Common Council with only one substantive change. A protected tree is now defined as 8 inches or more diameter at breast height (DBH). The Michigan City Common Council then sent it back to the Plan Commission for their approval. This passed the City Council, by a vote of 7 to 1 on February 5th.
Planning and Zoning Committee Meeting - The Michigan City Common Council has been called by Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Sharon Carnes for Thursday, January 3, 2019 at 5:00 P.M., in the EOC Room, City Hall, 100 E. Michigan Boulevard.
The purpose of the meeting is to review and discuss the following proposed the zoning ordinance amending the text of the Michigan City Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance No. 4120. Many of the proposed changes deal with the Shoreline Regulations.
The text with the proposed changes is here: http://www.emichigancity.com/cityhall/departments/planning/pdf/121718.pdf
Michigan City Streetlights - The City Council received an anonymous email concerning new streetlights in Michigan City. I've also seen this email posted by a few people on facebook and would like to correct some of "SlickSam's" assertions about the new lighting in Michigan City.
Michigan City is working to ensure that the city has good lighting that complies with the American Medical Association guidelines. There is an agreement between NIPSCO and the Michigan City Board of Works to utilize 3000 kelvin lighting for the NIPSCO owned streetlights. The fixtures are shielded and have the International Dark Sky Fixture Seal of Approval. I recommend that everyone who is interested in the health effects of blue-rich LED lights refer directly to the AMA report.
Walker Park Garden - Last year, I wrote a letter of support and introduced this plan at the Eastport Neighborhood Association. A community garden was one of the goals for 2018 laid out in the Eastport Plan.
The Walker Park Community Garden is a new resource combatting food insecurity in the Eastport neighborhood residents. Eastport residents can grow and pick fresh produce. The goal is get residents access to healthy food. This was a joint project with the CDBG, the Eastport Neighborhood Association, Purdue Extension, Franciscan Health, the North Central Community Action Agencies and the Home Team of La Porte County. Tina Mahone of the Eastport Neighborhood Association is the Resident Bed Coordinator. The you-pick area is maintained by a garden manager and community volunteers. Read the News-Dispatch article here.
Expansion of North TIF - I sponsored Resolution #4711 to expand the north tax increment financing district to include a stretch of U.S. 12 east of Blue Chip Casino. This gateway to Michigan City is home to vacant and deteriorating structures and underutilized properties with a declining assessed value.
Paperwork Reduction - I introduced Resolution #4694 authorizing the electronic delivery of documents. Every week, the City Clerk emails agendas, minutes, ordinances, and resolutions. Prior to the introduction of this resolution and an associated ordinance, these documents were also sent via U.S. Mail to the 9 council members and the council attorney. This resolution and ordinance has the potential to save the city $2000 per year in postage as well as end the duplication of effort for clerk's office.
Greenhouse Restoration - The "Greenhouse" is a major part of the WPA (Works Progress Administration) legacy in Washington Park. This building was on the verge of demolition in July 2016 when I introduced Resolution #4651 asking for the preservation and stabilization of this building and the other WPA structures in Washington Park. With the support of Mayor Ron Meer and the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission, the Greenhouse was restored. Read the News-Dispatch article here.
The Works Progress Administration, commonly known as the WPA, was established in 1935 and put 8.5 million Americans to work on public works projects throughout the United States during the Great Depression. Washington Park has a significant collection of WPA structures, e.g. the Rotary Castle, the Greenhouse, the Observation Tower, Monkey Island, the Rock Garden, and Zoo Gardens and Pathways designed and built by WPA workers and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This collection of structures has significant historical and cultural importance to the city and the country and fosters civic pride in the accomplishments of working people
Active Living Workshop - The City of Michigan City was recently selected as one of 4 Indiana cities to host an Active Living Workshop through Health by Design. The Purdue Extension Nutrition Education Program (NEP) is partnering with Health by Design to present these workshops this fall. Workshops are designed to help these communities become healthier—as well as more walkable, bikeable and accessible for people of all ages and abilities. Current workshop supporters include: Franciscan Health Michigan City, The City of Michigan City, HealthLinc and Purdue Extension La Porte County.
Though this workshop will cover Michigan City we have requested special attention for the Eastport Neighborhood of Michigan City. Topics that will be covered by active living experts are: the benefits of community health with active living design, how crime is influenced by active living and the economics of an active living community.
South Shore Realignment - The South Shore proposes to expand from single track to double track between Gary and Michigan City and construct, signal, power, and platform improvements at five passenger stations. This will result in significant service improvements for Michigan City, including reducing travel time to Chicago to 67 minutes. There is a draft plan located here that details impacted properties through Michigan City. You can view all the project documents at: http://www.doubletrack-nwi.com/docs
Cleveland Park - The walking trail and basketball court are open! Don't have a basketball? You can check one out (free) at the police station, just ask at the administration desk. Playground equipment will be installed in the spring. Check out this video of the site!
Eastport Neighborhood - Eastport went through a planning process last year and an action plan was produced. The Eastport Neighborhood Association is in the process of reviewing and prioritizing the items in the action plan. You can review the action plan here. Please bring your enthusiasm and good ideas to the next Eastport Neighborhood Association Meeting! The Eastport Neighborhood Association meets every 2nd Thursday at the Fire Training Center.
Gardena Park Renovation Project - Gardena Park's$250,000 renovation is complete! The new playground equipment was installed and Gardena is ready for play!