NWI Green Party Crossroads

NWI Green Party Crossroads
 Northwest Indiana Green Party
crossroads of Green America

, your Northwest Indiana Green Party is working for our Green Values throughout the Region. The weather has taken a turn towards the summer with record high temperatures set in May. The effects of climate change are real and show the importance of our work to decrease dependency on fossil fuels right here in Northwest Indiana. Join us for another season of promoting the Green New Deal, Medicare for For All and Human Rights as we get ready for the festivals and parades where we can get the word out. The time to make a change is now!

 May NWI Green Party Monthly Meeting 

The Librarium Cafe, Downton Hobart, 310 Main St
Sunday, May 15, 2022 - 2:00pm

The Northwest Indiana Green Party is strategizing once again in downtown Hobart for our May Meeting. Join us at The Librarium Cafe, 310 Main Street (if the weather is nice we may be at an outside table). Help us get ready for our busy season of our Green grassroots work and outreach to grow our Green values throughout the region.

A Word From Your NWI Green Party Chair - Joe Conn

A couple of years ago, the people of Hobart rallied against a proposed for-profit prison on the city's west side.  

Developers of the prison touted the jobs and tax revenue the city would gain if their plan went through.  The people of Hobart heard them, but asked themselves, "Jobs and tax base, yes, but at what cost?"  

Concerned citizens weighed the alleged benefits against the stigma a prison would bring to our community, imagined a better use for the land, rallied against the prison project, fought it off, and now, thanks to those far-thinking folks, there's a beautiful 40-acre park where a prison might have been. 

Today, the people of Hobart are confronted with another, poorly thought through plan, this time for property at the southeast corner of 61st Avenue and Colorado St. Far-thinking folks in Hobart, you need to rally again. An industrial developer, Becknell, wants to pave over or build six giant, concrete warehouses on much of 157 acres of productive farm land there. 

Becknell is also touting jobs and tax base growth.  

But we, as a community, need to ask again, "At what cost?" 

To build their parking lots and warehouses, the developer is asking the city to re-zone the property to M-1, light manufacturing.  

Becknell is also asking city residents to put up with, by their estimate, 200 to 300 trucks a day -- but that's likely to be 400 to 600 truck TRIPS per day in and out of its proposed industrial complex.  

At the City Council meeting May 4, even Mayor Brian Snedicor, a champion of development, spoke against the Becknell project, saying our infrastructure -- that is, our sewers, roads, bridges and intersections -- simply aren't ready to handle it at this time.  

And, it's not just that corner and its 157 acres we're talking about.  

A document, the city's "comprehensive plan," formerly known as the "master plan," contains a rough map with proposed zoning areas for the city.  

The master plan in effect in 2015 called for just 60 acres of industrially zoned land in the area -- all in a parcel of land facing Mississippi Street more than a mile to the west.  

But that master plan map was revised in 2016 and remains in effect today.  It calls for calls for re-zoning a whopping 660 acres for industrial development.  

Much of that is in an area of about 460 acres of farmland that stretches for a mile east of Colorado Street and a mile south of 61st, to and, in some places, beyond the railroad tracks.  

The 2016 revised master plan map similarly targets for industrial "development" multiple parcels -- mostly  farmland -- west of Colorado St. and north of the tracks totaling about 200 acres.   

Together, based on the Becknell ratio of roughly 25 acres per warehouse, the 660-acrea area could be transformed into a vast industrial  "park" of 25 or so ugly boxes whose towering, concrete walls more than one neighbor has likened to those of a prison.   

Only these 25 industrial boxes -- at the Becknell rate of truck traffic --  could generate as many as 2,100 truck trips per day. 

This is a master plan for a bleak Hobart. 

Like the defeated for-profit prison plan, it lacks foresight and imagination.  

This first 157-acre project, the Becknell re-zone request, is the first step down a wrong path.  It should be opposed immediately. 

Becknell should do the right thing, faced with the overwhelming opposition of the community and the inadequacy of the city's basic  infrastructure, and withdraw its proposal.  

In addition, the City Council should take this proposal off the table and kill it -- dead -- just as the for-profit prison plan before it was terminated.  Council members must act before July 20, or else, by quirk of state law, the Plan Commission recommendation for a re-zone to M-1 would go into effect without a council vote.  

Once that's done, all of the proposed industrial zoning in the master plan should be carefully revisited.  

Of course we need jobs.  

Of course we need a tax base.  

But at what cost?

This proposed, massive industrialization of our largest remaining blocks of agricultural land is the wrong path to get there.  

Time is short, but we still have time to turn back this terrible intrusion.

If you want more information, please go to our Facebook page, No Re-Zone @HobartIsOurHome.  

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Support your Northwest Indiana Green Party by making a contribution to our green movement. Contributions can be made through our secure square site at nwigreenparty.square.site. While you are there consider becoming a member of the NWI Green Party. Annual membership are $10 for adults, $5 seniors and students. You can join by clicking on the appropriate membership to add it to your cart. Your contributions will help us to engage the political machines in our region and to promote Green candidates in the upcoming election cycles.
Portage Commission Recommends Willow Creek Rezone

The Portage Plan Commission heard a request to rezone a portion of US 6 along Willow Creek to high density commercial. The developer for the parcel from Swanson Road to the banks of Willow Creek (the site of the former Kelsey's Steakhouse) is seeking to change the zoning in order to build a strip mall like  the diagonally across around Aldi's. This is the same developer that asked for and received variances from the City of Portage to build into the stream protections buffer zones that are important for the health of the stream - particularly important as this the point where Willow Creek begins to flow though many of the residential neighborhoods of Portage as it flows towards Lake Michigan.  We lost this buffer zone and wetlands south of US 6 when the land was strip cleared, Portage can not loose it north of US 6 as well.
Rev. Michael Cooper of the Northwest Indiana Green Party spoke before the Plan Commission requesting that the rezone not be recommended because this development would destroy the buffer zone just like what happened across the street. The like of demarcating has to be US 6 if the city is going to ensure that the waters in Willow Creek that run past people's houses is clean and safe. The zoning change is before the Portage Common Council and will be voted on at their June 2022 meeting. If you live in Portage, please contact your Portage Councilperson and request that the stream protections be enshrined in the rezone motion for the health of Willow Creek. The future of this important waterway through the city should not be allowed the to be variances away for a bad development.


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