Eco-Friendly, Green Living, Real Estate

Portage Indiana Greenway Projects Enhance Quality of Life

November 2, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

Winter in the Dunes LakefrontPortage Indiana has made no secret about mandating quality of life goals for the city’s North side. Shortly after taking office Mayor Olga Valezquez set out with a far-reaching development plan for the city and has worked with legislative members at all levels to implement some of those initiatives.

In addition to several “under-the-hood”  basic municipal services, city planners are developing the under-utilized North side of Portage Indiana. Historically, Portage Indiana had been cut off to Lake Michigan access by industry and commercial projects. But in recent years The City Marina, the Lakefront Riverwalk, and Congressman Visclosky’s transformative Project Greenway goals have energized the vision.  As more notable projects come on-line the City of Portage continues to turn the corner from it’s working class reputation.

Three new federal grant applications continue that momentum.  Two involve development on the Burns Waterway, and a third project for hiking and bike trails.

Demolition of Dilapidated Homes on Burns Waterway

The Federal Emerency Management Agency has offered Portage Indiana funds which will allow demolition of some homes on the East side of SR 249. Some of these properties are dangerous to occupy, potentially in danger of collapsing into the river. Under the grant, FEMA would pay 75 percent of the cost and the City of Portage would be responsible for the rest. The program is entirely voluntary, this is not a condemnation. According to Mayor’s office spokesman John Shepherd “Any property acquired through the FEMA program is conveyed to local government with a no-construction deed restriction after the federal government removes property improvements.”  The land would then presumably become a future park parcel for the residents of Portage Indiana. A hearing is scheduled for November8th at City Hall to discuss the proposal and help determine how many of the 4 property owners are interested in participating.

Bike Trails and Waterway Improvements

As bike trail-connection projects are coming into their own across the entire Northwest Indiana region, Portage Indiana has received $1.2 million in federal construction grants for expanding the trails at Lakefront Park. And an even larger project is in the engineering stage for the West Branch of the Burns Waterway.  According to the NWI Times, after an initial engineering grant, with $85,000 matching funds coming from the City of Portage, between $2 million and $6, million in construction costs to restore river-front, shoreline, and recreation projects, including boat ramps North of Route 12, and other unspecified projects.  The Army Corps of Engineers is doing much of the heavy lifting having already spent $100,000 on engineering plans.

Keep your eyes on the “new” Portage North side. There is great potential to be found near the lake with newly completed enhancements and on-the-drawing-board amenities. There is commercial growth at Ameriplex: Bass Pro, Starbucks, and four restaurants; plus the new municipal light indusrtial area West of 249. The residential community of Harbor Oaks offers the great oak savanna habitat that “Duners” love while being within the city limits of Portage Indiana. The planned unit development of Marina Shores remains on hold due to the economy, but it’s harbor slips are full every summer, and we look for a turn-around there soon. The Town of Ogden Dunes has a wide variety of lake-view, waterfront,  and dune woodland properties, and the commuter train station to Chicago.

Portage Indiana has taken the early steps to elevate the Quality of Life for it residents through Greenway Projects. Are you interested? Let me be your personal real estate guide to Portage Indiana.

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Steve Cardwell

Steve Cardwell is an Indiana Realtor working with residential buyers and sellers throughout Northwest Indiana. He likes to stay current on the housing market by analyzing real estate trends with a focus on the towns of Highland and Munster Indiana. His broker affiliation is Red Key Realty Leaders in St John, Indiana. Learn more about Steve and visit

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3 Responses to “Portage Indiana Greenway Projects Enhance Quality of Life”
  1. Glad to hear about the new federal grants that Portage Indiana has received in their efforts to keep moving their community forward. These new Greenway projects should make Portage Indiana even more desirable beyond the fact that they have low property taxes.

  2. Jim Sims says:

    This is absolutely going to be a welcome addition to the City of Portage. The north side of Portage, as you stated, has been primarily commercialized in the past. With the greenway and blueway initiatives, the future of Portage, as well as several locations moving across Porter and Lake County will be more welcoming to not only the lifelong residents, but tourists as well. This can only improve the local economy!!

  3. Carrie Bronner says:

    So excited to hear to see that Portage is taking this giant step forward! The communities along Lake Michigan have too long been dominated by industry. It is time that we as a community bring it back to the natural beauty that is indigenous to NW Indiana. 

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