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City News

Memorial Day Holiday Closings

In observance of Memorial Day, City Hall and most City offices will be closed.

The Refuse Department will be closed on Monday, May 25, 2015. All Refuse and compost pickups will be one (1) day late. Fridays refuse and compost will be picked up on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

All Central Service Departments will be closed on Monday, May 25, 2015.  A regular work schedule will resume on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. This includes the Forester Department, Street Department and Vector Control.

Aditionally, the Michigan City Transit Department will be closed on Monday, May 25, 2015 in observance of Memorial Day. The Michigan City Transit Department will resume a regular schedule on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.

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Indiana Plan Testing Dates Announced

The Michigan City Human Rights Department would like to announce that the Indiana Plan will start testing in June of this year.

The Indiana Plan is a pre-apprenticeship training program sponsored by the Indiana State Building Trades.  The Indiana Plan recruits, informs, and educates eligible program participants about the steps necessary to become accepted into construction apprenticeship programs. Trainees participating in the Indiana Plan work on job readiness and resume writing skills along with good interviewing techniques.  Participants also prepare for the apprenticeship aptitude test while receiving information on upcoming apprenticeship openings in the construction trades. 

Test dates are listed below:  Deadline to register for testing is May 28, 2015

  • June 1, 2015, 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
  • June 2, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
  • June 3, 2015, 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
  • June 4, 2015, 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
  • June 5, 2015, 9:00 a.m.

Entry level requirements include:

  • Must be 18 years of age
  • Must have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Valid Indiana’s Driver’s License
  • Able to pass a drug test
  • Ability to pass a 10th grade aptitude test
  • Own a reliable vehicle

To register, please call the Indiana Plan Office at: 219-884-4503 or go to: www.indianaplan.org
All testing will be done in Gary, Indiana.

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Michigan City in Bloom Floral Contest

The Michigan City in Bloom Committee announces the sixth annual Michigan City in Bloom Floral Contest.  Due to popular request, this year’s contest has been expanded to include the following categories: Small Business (25 or less employees), Large Business (25 or more employees), Private Residence, Environmental (natural plantings), Container Garden, Non-profit/government agency, Schools, and Churches.

Points will be awarded for the following 6 categories:

  1. Tidiness
  2. Floral Display
  3. Harmony
  4. Balance of display
  5. Landscape components
  6. Use of city flower(daylily) and city rose (nearly wild rose)

Applications will be available at the Parks & Recreation Dept. (City Hall), Michigan City Public Library, LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Michigan City Senior Center, The International Friendship Gardens, and online at www.michigancityparks.com.

Completed applications are due by July 2nd at the Michigan City Parks & Recreation office, located at City Hall, 100 E Michigan Blvd, Suite 2, Michigan City, Indiana  46360. Judging will take place the week of July 6th.  The Michigan City in Bloom Awards will be distributed on July 10th.  Participants must be a civil city resident.   

For more information on the contest or to join the Michigan City in Bloom Committee, please contact Julie Manner by email at juliemanner@comcast.net, Mary Rooney at marooney@comcast.net or call the MC Parks & Recreation Department at 873-1506.

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Barker Mansion Annual Pink Tea

Michigan City’s historic Barker Mansion will hold their annual Pink Teas on Wednesday, June 24 and Sunday, June 28 at 3:30 pm. An annual tradition, the teas are held in the mansion’s elegant outdoor gardens and will feature food and drink from Classic Catering and Events. Following the tea service, an engaging lecture will be provided by Curt Burnette of Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, IN.

Burnette will provide a captivating look at author Gene Stratton Porter. Porter lived from 1863-1924 and is arguably Indiana’s most famous female author. It is quite likely that young heiress Catherine Barker would have read Porter’s books, especially A Girl of the Limberlost which was published in 1909 when Catherine was 13.

Advance registration and payment of $25 per person is required for the Pink Teas. Walk-ins will not be accepted. Call (219) 873-1520 early to reserve your space.

The Barker Mansion is located at 631 Washington Street in Michigan City, IN. The 38-room mansion was built by freight car industrialist and philanthropist John H. Barker in 1905. Aside from the Pink Teas, guided tours of the mansion are offered Monday through Friday at 10 am, 11:30 am, and 1 pm. Additionally, tours are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 12 pm and 2 pm beginning in June. Cost for a tour is $5 per adult and $2 per child. Reservations are not necessary for regular tours.

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Michigan City Launches Official Social Media Presence

Four new social media pages launching today will provide new ways to interact with and promote the community. Each one will offer a different experience and a different way to show off “#myMichiganCity.”

Initiated by the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission, these pages will support local businesses, bolster economic development, create awareness and excitement for local events, and foster a strong online community. The effort will build on interest already generated by existing Michigan City social media presences, such as the Facebook pages of the Uptown Arts District, the Parks and Recreation Department, and many others.

Don Babcock, Vice President of the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission said, “The Redevelopment Commission is investing tens of millions of dollars to help revitalize our great city. A critical part of that effort is to help existing and new businesses thrive. This initiative will help build pride in our community and help sustain our momentum for the next generation.”

The four pages will consist of two separate Facebook pages, an Instagram account, and an official city LinkedIn page. The Discover Michigan City Facebook page will promote local businesses, events, and accomplishments. The Michigan City Resident Updates page will be home to announcements relevant to Michigan City residents. The Discover Michigan City Instagram account will share photos focused on food and drink, arts and culture, as well as great shopping and events. The LinkedIn page will build the City’s image as an excellent place to do business, reaching the professional community in and outside the City. Readers may “like” and “follow” the pages by visiting these links online.

A 16-member Social Media Advisory Council has overseen development of the social media launch and will oversee the content posted to each page. City Councilman and Social Media Advisory Council member Richard Murphy said, “We can bring the stunning visual imagery of our natural resources, the energy of the renaissance occurring in arts and culture in our downtown, and the many positive community efforts we have going on across our city right now to create a powerful online presence that will help Michigan City economically, and improve its image to residents and visitors alike.”

In the coming weeks, workshops will be announced to help businesses and organizations optimize their use of social media, support each other’s efforts online, and promote the City in general.

Skyler York, Assistant City Planner and President of the Advisory Council, said, “Michigan City is in the midst of a renewal and Mayor Ron Meer’s plans for a ‘Cleaner, Safer, Better’ city are underway. The time is right to showcase all the ways Michigan City is vibrant, creative, and blossoming.”

#myMichiganCity Program Offers Discounts & Prizes

The #myMichiganCity program will promote local businesses and encourage participation from residents and visitors alike. Social media users who post using the #myMichiganCity hashtag, and “check in” or “mention” specific businesses on any social network may earn discounts at participating businesses, plus enter for a chance to win prizes. Julia Nielsen, a Social Media Advisory Council member, says, "We look forward to supporting the City's new social media campaign and are excited to be a part of such an excellent community."

Nielsen's eclectic boutique, The Closet by Franklin Vintage, will offer a 10% discount as part of the program. Other participating businesses include Arturo’s Baked Goods & More, Burn ‘Em Brewing, Hoity-Toity, The Great Escape Spa & Art Shop, At The Beach Swimwear Boutique, Finders Keepers Consignment LLC, Threadbenders Quilt Shop, Maple City Roasters, Urban Soles Inc, and Beach Bum Jewels.

Residents and visitors using the #myMichiganCity hashtag anywhere in the City may also enter for a chance to win prizes, including a $50 gift card for Lighthouse Premium Outlets, a one-year family membership to the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, a one-night stay at Blue Chip Casino Hotel & Spa, a complimentary wine tasting for six with Perfect Pairing appetizers at Shady Creek Winery, and two VIP Passes for the Great Lakes Grand Prix provided by the LaPorte County Convention & Visitors Bureau. The drawing entry form is online at http://bitly.com/myMichiganCity.

Any business can join the program at any time by visiting http://bitly.com/myMichiganCity. To help businesses advertise their incentives, customizable, printable table tents are also available for download at the website.

Help spread the word about our great city! Use #myMichiganCity to show your civic pride. Follow, like, and interact on the Michigan City Resident Updates Facebook page, Discover Michigan City Facebook page, Discover Michigan City Instagram page, and The City of Michigan City LinkedIn page.

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Reverend Bill J. Ashley Memorial Education Scholarship

The Michigan City Commission on the Social Status of African American Males is proud to present its first annual The Reverend Bill J. Ashley Memorial Education Scholarship.  The purpose of this scholarship is to assist an African-American male preparing to enter an accredited college or a post-secondary institution with the costs associated with furthering his education. If you are an African-American male who is a graduating senior from a public, private, home or GED school within the boundaries of Michigan City Area Schools, a Michigan City resident, and has a graduation grade point average (GPA) of not less than 2.0, then you could be eligible for this valuable scholarship.

Click here to learn more and obtain the application.

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Summer Youth Activities & Programs

As the summer season draws near, Mayor Ron Meer would like to remind everyone that Michigan City has a plethora of summer activities and programs to keep students, as well as their families, busy and active in the community. 

Please click here for a list of all activities. 

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City Addresses Odor Concerns

The Mayor’s Office has recently received calls and e-mails from several concerned citizens about strong odors in the vicinity of Roeske Ave., in Michigan City, and in the Town of Trail Creek.  Mayor Meer has asked both the Michigan City Sanitary District and the Code Enforcement Department to investigate these concerns.  Michael Kuss, General Manager of the Sanitary District, has taken the lead on this investigation, and over the last month personnel from these departments have been working diligently to locate the source of the problem and to identify the potential cause.  City personnel have also met with many concerned citizens and coordinated their efforts with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

The odor problems appear to be associated with a new Air Pollution Control System installed by the GAF Facility located on N. Roeske Avenue.  The system was installed in November 2014, and became fully operational, on a continuous basis, in January 2015.  GAF officials have described the new unit as a Coalescing Filtration System.  This system replaced a Thermal Oxidizing Unit, which “burned” the air emissions to reduce volatile organic compounds (VOC) and particulate matter prior to it being released into the atmosphere.  The design of the new filtration system is much better for the environment as it significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and it uses less energy.  However, it does not seem to be removing all of the odor causing compounds.

GAF officials have been fully cooperating and as recent as Wednesday, May 6, 2015, they installed an odor scavenging system designed to eliminate odors.  They are hopeful that this system will successfully eliminate the odors, and they are also evaluating other proactive long-term solutions.

Mayor Meer will continue to commit the necessary City resources to this issue and he would like to thank GAF for their quick response in addressing these concerns.

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Compost Schedule

Yard waste/compost pickups will begin Monday, May 4, 2015, and will continue through Friday, November 20, 2015. You may use 32 gallon size garbage cans, cardboard boxes, and/or paper bags. NO PLASTIC BAGS OR TOTERS may be used for compost pick-ups.  All compost pick-ups must be placed out on the curbside for removal and will not be picked up or removed from alleys. The resident will be responsible for getting their compost to the street. Listed below are the schedules for the regular trash pick-up and the corresponding pick-up day for the composting materials only.

IF YOUR TRASH PICK-UP IS:                  YOUR COMPOST DAY IS:
Monday                                                         Thursday
Tuesday                                                        Friday
Wednesday                                                  Monday
Thursday                                                       Tuesday
Friday                                                             Wednesday

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New Director of the Michigan City Barker Civic Center

After a thorough and joint search by Mayor Ron Meer and the Barker Civic Center Commission, Mayor Ron Meer is pleased to announce that he has appointed Ms. Jessica Rosier to become the new Director of the Michigan City Barker Civic Center. 

Ms. Rosier worked for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, serving at both Indiana Dunes and Mounds State Parks.  Ms. Rosier’s responsibilities included overseeing the historic Bronnenberg Home (restored to 1897) and leading public tours and field trips, whether in the historic home or out on a trail.  Prior to that, she worked for the Minnesota Historical Society at the boyhood home of aviator Charles Lindbergh. Ms. Rosier holds the Certified Interpretive Guide designation through the National Association for Interpretation.  This certification enables her to lead engaging programs for the public.  Ms. Rosier graduated from St. Cloud State University in 2011 with a Masters in Geography for Tourism Planning and Development.  Ms. Rosier also holds a Bachelors in Geography for Travel and Tourism Studies as well as a minor in Communications. 

Mayor Meer is honored to have Ms. Rosier step into this position and he is excited about the leadership and direction Ms. Rosier will bring to the Barker Civic Center.

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Physically Disabled Persons Ordinance

Michigan City has recently enacted Ordinance No. 4314 to establish parking privileges for physically disabled persons when parking is either unavailable to said persons at their residence or off-street parking is unduly burdensome for said persons.  The Department of Central Services is hereby authorized and empowered to grant to physically disabled persons the exclusive use of a parking space adjacent to or directly across the street from their residence, subject to such rules and regulations as the Department of Central Services may prescribe, in areas where such parking is otherwise permitted and not restricted.

Any person eligible by virtue of a physical disability shall present to the Department of Central Services a written application, on a form furnished by the Department, for a permit entitling that person to the exclusive use for a period of one (1) calendar year from the date of issue of one (1) parking space adjacent to or directly across the street from the applicant’s place of residence.  A physically disabled person is any person who has been issued a disabled person placard for a permanent disability pursuant to I.C. 9-14-5; any person who has been issued a disabled person license plate pursuant to I.C. 9-18-22; or any person who has been issued a disabled veteran license plate pursuant to I.C. 9-18-18.

Upon receipt of a written application, the Department of Central Services shall, within a reasonable time and no later than 30 days from receipt of a fully completed application, grant or deny the permit so applied for. Upon the granting of such permit, the Department of Central Services shall issue to the applicant a reserved space permit with an identification number and install a sign restricting use of the space to the permit holder only, which sign shall show thereon the holder’s permit number.

The permit application is available at the Department of Central Services located at 1801 Kentucky Street, Michigan City, Indiana, and their office hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  In addition, the permit application and Ordinance No. 4314 is available online.

Ordinance No. 4314
Permit Application

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Michigan City's Wabash Street Green Infrastructure Project Awarded EPA Grant

The City of Michigan City is very proud to announce that it has been awarded a Great Lakes Shoreline Cities Green Infrastructure Grant in the amount of $224,823.00 for the Wabash Street Green Infrastructure Project from the Environmental Protection Agency.  This is the second grant award for the project.  The Lake Michigan Coastal Program previously awarded the city $92,000.00 for the project.  The EPA grant is awarded to shoreline cities on the Great Lakes to fund green infrastructure projects that will improve Great Lakes water quality.   

The Wabash Street Green Infrastructure Project consists of a set improvements including the installation of stormwater Best Management Practices or BMPs in the form of rain gardens and bioswales. It also includes pedestrian improvements such as sidewalks and crosswalks, aesthetic enhancements including decorative LED street lighting and landscaping, and streetscaping and safety modifications to intersections.  The project limits extend from US 12 to 11th Street.  Construction is expected to be complete in Spring 2016. 

The City and its Redevelopment Commission worked closely with Haas and Associates Engineers, The Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Delta Institute to successfully obtain the grant.  The project is a direct recommendation of the recently adopted Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy.

Michigan City's Wabash Street Green Infrastructure Project Awarded EPA Grant Michigan City's Wabash Street Green Infrastructure Project Awarded EPA Grant

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Changes to Hand Gun Permit Process

The Michigan City Police Department is announcing that changes have been made to the hand gun permit process due to recent implementation by the Indiana State Police. Those interested in obtaining an application must do so on-line via the Indiana State Police website, which is located at www.in.gov/isp or at the Michigan City Police Department website at www.michigancitypolice.com.

For additional information, please click here.  

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Religious Freedom Bill

Mayor Ron Meer would like to address the Religious Freedom Bill signed into law by Governor Mike Pence recently.

Mayor Meer said:
“In regards to the Religious Freedom Bill -- my opinion on this law is that it is inconceivable that this bill was even passed and signed by the governor.  This bill should be repealed immediately.  I have been in conversations with Council President Chris Schwanke and he assures me that city attorneys are working on a draft resolution opposing this Religious Freedom Bill that will be presented at the April 7th City Council meeting.  It will be my pleasure to put my signature on it.  The City of Michigan City is committed to protect the rights of all citizens and visitors regardless of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability or age.”

Also, Jeff Deuitch, Executive Director of Human Rights, said:
“As many of you know, Governor Pence recently signed into law the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (SB 101), which has created much controversy and debate not only in our State, but also throughout our nation.  As Executive Director of the Michigan City Human Rights Department, I want to assure our residents that I pledge to continue to fight to provide all citizens equal opportunity for education, employment, access to public conveniences and accommodations, and to eliminate segregation, separation, or discrimination based solely on race, religion, color, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability, familial status or sexual orientation.

I strongly disagree with the passing of this law and urge all residents to work towards its repeal or at the minimum an amendment.  I feel the law may set us back many years in the fight for civil rights for all, potentially restricting the rights our citizens have been granted by City Ordinance and Indiana State Law.  Unfortunately, I believe this law has damaged our great state’s reputation nationwide and this law has the potential to further harm us individually and economically.

The City of Michigan City Human Rights Department is committed to diversity and inclusion and will continue to be devoted to insuring all people are treated with respect and have equal opportunity in this community. We will continue to fight to help any resident who feels they have been discriminated against.”

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Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy Receives Second Award

The City of Michigan City and Hitchcock Design Group are very proud to announce that the Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy (LMGIS) has received a Merit Award in the Planning Category from the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  The award will be presented on Friday, April 17th at the Hotel Allegro in Chicago, Illinois. 

The Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy is a 3-5 year action agenda which identifies public improvement projects that will attract additional private investment to Michigan City.  The strategy identifies a set of priority projects for the next two years totaling 23 Million Dollars including capital improvements, infrastructure upgrades, and substantial aesthetic enhancements the to the downtown and lakefront areas.  The Michigan City team comprised of the City Administration and staff, Planning Department, Redevelopment Commission, and representatives from several neighborhood groups and community agencies and organizations worked diligently with the consulting team led by Hitchcock Design Group through a 14-month process that produced this guiding document for Michigan City.

This is the second award the City of Michigan City has received for the LMGIS.  On March 27th, at Ball State University, the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association will present representatives from the city with a 2015 Hoosier Planning Award in the category of outstanding plan.  The LMGIS was chosen from 7 other community planning documents and received Honorable Mention for Outstanding Plan which is among the highest planning awards in the State of Indiana. 

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Mid-Town Grant Program Announced

The Michigan City Urban Enterprise Association announces their Mid-Town Grant program.

There is a new grant program for Mid-Town district businesses located on Franklin Street from 11th Street to Coolspring.  The purpose is intended to promote visual improvements, historic preservation, structural integrity, boost the quality of product and enhance the customer experience.  It can be used for exterior and interior rehabilitation of the building or machinery and equipment used in the business.

The Michigan City Urban Enterprise Association will reimburse 60% of eligible costs up to $2,500.

Please contact Executive Director, Diane Wilczewski at 219-561-6991 or email at mcuea1984@gmail.com for an application.

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Garage Sale Ordinance Enacted

The Michigan City Common Council has recently enacted an ordinance governing garage sales.  All persons desiring to conduct garage sales within City limits must first obtain a permit from the Controller’s Office for each garage sale they host.  The Controller Office is located within City Hall at 100 E. Michigan Boulevard, Michigan City, Indiana, and their office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The cost of a permit for each garage sale is $5.00.  Once a permit is obtained, the permit must be displayed in a conspicuous area on the date of the garage sale.

Garage sales are limited in duration and frequency.  Garage sales may not exceed three (3) consecutive days at the same location, and only four (4) garage sales are allowed at any one (1) location each year.  Garage sales shall be conducted only between sunrise and sunset.  At the conclusion of a garage sale, all signs erected for the sale and all property exhibited for the sale shall immediately be removed from public view.  Failure to comply with this Ordinance, could subject the violator to a fine of $100.00 for each violation.

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Vendor Ordinance Enacted

Michigan City has recently enacted Ordinance No. 4312 to establish rules, regulations, and permit fees for the following types of vendors: 1.) canvassers, peddlers & solicitors; 2.) street vendors; 3.) transient merchants; and 4.) mobile food vendors.

Canvassers, peddlers & solicitors are persons going door-to-door selling, offering to sell, taking orders for future purposes, or seeking opinions for commercial purposes.  A street vendor is a person offering for sale goods or services on a street, alley, sidewalk, or other public place or right-of-way from a stand, pushcart, or by person.  A transient merchant is a person engaged in the sale of goods or services in any place in the City on a temporary basis and does not anticipate becoming an established business merchant for a continuous period of 180 days or longer.  A mobile food vendor is a person who operates a self-contained food service from a vehicle.

These vendors must obtain a license from the City and pay a license fee before transacting business in the City.  The license application is available at the Controller’s Office located within City Hall at 100 E. Michigan Boulevard, Michigan City, Indiana, and their office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  In addition, the license application and Ordinance No. 4312 is available online.

All completed applications received by the Controller’s Office will be referred to the Board of Public Works & Safety for review and recommendation.  If an application for a license is approved, the applicant is responsible for obtaining an identification badge from the Controller’s Office for each person transacting business under their license.  The identification badge shall be displayed on the person conducting business pursuant to said license at all times.  Any violation of Ordinance No. 4312 may result in a $100.00 fine for each violation.

With warmer weather soon approaching, First Fridays in downtown Michigan City on Franklin Square will be attracting larger crowds.  All persons who do not have a permanent business establishment on Franklin Square and who are desiring to conduct business as one of the aforementioned types of vendors during First Fridays are encouraged to review Ordinance No. 4312.

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City of Michigan City Receives 2015 Hoosier Planning Award

The City of Michigan City and Hitchcock Design Group are very proud to announce a 2015 Hoosier Planning Award for the Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy (LMGIS) in the category of Outstanding Plan.  The LMGIS was chosen from 7 other community planning documents and received Honorable Mention for Outstanding Plan which is among the highest planning awards in the State of Indiana.  The awards are granted annually and recipients are chosen from submittals from communities for planning projects that were completed in 2014.   City representatives will accept the award at the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association’s Spring Development Conference on March 27, 2015 at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
 
The Michigan City team comprised of the City Administration and staff, Planning Department, Redevelopment Commission, and representatives from several neighborhood groups and community agencies and organizations worked diligently with the consulting team led by Hitchcock Design Group through a 14-month process that produced this guiding document for Michigan City.
“The award winning Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy is a great achievement for the City of Michigan City,” said Mayor Ron Meer upon hearing the news.  “The action plan will be implemented over the next 3-5 years and is viewed as playbook for the Michigan City comeback story,” he said.

City Planning Director Craig Phillips said on Monday that the first projects outlined in the strategy are already underway including the Wabash Green Infrastructure project for which the city has received significant grant monies from the Lake Michigan Coastal Program and that the city anticipates another award of additional grant funds from the EPA.  Phillips said that the City is in the process of negotiating the engineering services for the downtown 2 way street conversion of Pine, Washington, and 9th Streets which is set to break ground the end of this summer.  Construction has also begun on the Artspace Uptown Artists Lofts in the Historic Warren Building, the new pavilion project in Washington Park and the Franklin Street Streetcape project which made significant decorative lighting and street furniture upgrades on Main Street.  Phillips added, the goal of this strategy is to transform Michigan City over the next 3-5 years.  Residents are already commenting on the progress they are seeing.

The Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy is a 3-5 year action agenda which identifies public improvement projects that will attract additional private investment to Michigan City.  The strategy identifies a set of priority projects for the next two years totaling 23 Million Dollars including capital improvements, infrastructure upgrades, and substantial aesthetic enhancements the to the downtown and lakefront areas.

City of Michigan City Receives 2015 Hoosier Planning Award

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11th Street Track and Asphalt Replacement Project

Mayor Ron Meer and the City of Michigan City would like to inform our citizens and visitors that the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) is planning track and asphalt replacement on the 11th Street corridor, from the east side of Washington Street to the west side of Tennessee Street. 

This work involves removing and replacing approximately thirty-six inches of asphalt outside of the rails, on each side of the tracks, along with the asphalt between the rails.  The work is tentatively scheduled to begin on July 20, 2015 with completion around September 13, 2015.

As a part of the 2015 paving program, the City of Michigan City Engineer along with other city departments and consultants will be working in a cooperative effort with NICTD to repave both sides of this stretch of 11th Street from the curb to the NICTD tracks.

As the start date approaches, the city will follow up on this project with necessary detour and closure information.

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Michigan City Crime Map

A crime mapping tool used by law enforcement agencies across Northwest Indiana to track and solve everything from car break-ins to homicides can now be accessed online by the public. Michigan City's crime data is now part of the Regional Crime Report available online at nwi.com. Click here to access the Crime Report online for Michigan City.

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US 421/South Franklin Street South Gateway Corridor Plan

US Highway 421 / South Franklin Street is the major north-south route through Michigan City, and serves as the front door to our community. Due to the combination of visual clutter, underutilized properties, the need for quality gateway elements and a lack of a cohesive design and land use theme, the corridor is not currently representative of the quality of our community and what it has to offer as a whole. Therefore, this project is aimed at revitalizing the US Highway 421/South Franklin Street “South Gateway” corridor to provide an enhanced entrance to the City. To learn more about the project as well as to keep up to date with the project’s progress, check out the project website at www.mc421corridorplan.com

Join the US 421 MindMixer Converstation!

MindMixer is an online engagement tool that sparks community ideas. This easy-to-use tool creates a place for community members to share, evolve, and ultimately take action on ideas. Residents of Michigan City: We invite and encourage you to provide input to help in crafting a vision for this important corridor and how it relates to the future of Michigan City! To get started in taking part in the online discussion for the Michigan City 421 Corridor plan, visit http://mc421corridor.mindmixer.com/.

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Looking for Information on the Michigan City Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy?

Are you seeking more information on the Michigan City Lake Michigan Gateway Implementation Strategy? Click here to learn more from the Hitchcock Design Group, the team commissioned by the City to design the implementation strategy.

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Cheney Run Floodplain

Mayor Meer has made available the following documents related to the Cheney Run Floodplain:

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City of Michigan City and Artspace Advance Uptown Artspace Lofts Project With Tax Credit Award

Michigan City, Indiana has received the long awaited news regarding federal tax credits for the Michigan City Artspace project. And it’s good news!

The Uptown Artspace Lofts at the Warren Building project was awarded an estimated $10 million dollars of federal tax credits that will move the project into the construction stage later this year.  

The proposed project will be a full historic renovation of 44 affordable artist live-work spaces and commercial retail and gallery space.

A team made up of representatives of the national non-profit developer Artspace, working side by side with Michigan City officials, received the news Thursday morning at an Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority meeting.

“This award confirms what we have believed throughout this journey, that Michigan City, Indiana is the next great economic opportunity on Lake Michigan,” Mayor Ron Meer said upon hearing the news.

“I would like to thank Governor Pence, Lt. Governor Ellspermann, and the IHCDA for this award of tax credits and for recognizing the important revitalization opportunities in downtown Michigan City,” Meer said.  Meer was also quick to point out help from State Senator Jim Arnold who continues to be a strong advocate for downtown Michigan City.

“This was a team effort. We are beaming with pride in Michigan City to be the first Artspace project in the State of Indiana,” Meer continued.

The project will infuse an estimated $12 million dollars in funds to redevelop the iconic Warren Building, a six story vacant structure on historic Michigan City’s main downtown thoroughfare, Franklin Street.

Councilman Tim Bietry made the initial call to invite Artspace to Michigan City in 2008, which led to a pre-development contract with Artspace, the largest non-profit developer of artist spaces in the country.

A City team that included Bietry, Mayor Ron Meer, former Mayor Chuck Oberlie, Redevelopment Commission President Ken Behrendt, Councilman Rich Murphy, and City Planning Director Craig Phillips worked with Artspace representatives for more than three years to achieve the tax credit award.

Bietry said on Thursday, “This is an example of what can be achieved when talented people who want the best for their community step forward and work together.”

Artspace President Kelley Lindquist acknowledged the very competitive process for obtaining the tax credits.

“With 44 tax credit applications filed and only 15 funded in this round, we’re thrilled to be able to move to the next step in this process and grateful to the IHCDA for recognizing the value of this project,” Lindquist said. “We’re proud to be part of Michigan City’s commitment to redevelop downtown and are confident that this project and the arts will contribute greatly to those efforts.”

For additional project details, click here (PDF).

About Artspace
Artspace is the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation, with 35 projects in operation across the country and another dozen in development, representing a unique, $600 million investment in America’s arts infrastructure. With headquarters in Minneapolis and offices in Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Seattle and Washington D.C., Artspace is America’s leading developer of arts facilities and has served as a consultant to hundreds of communities and arts organizations nationwide. To date we have completed nearly 2,000 affordable live/work units for artists and their families as well as more than a million square feet of non-residential space for artists and arts organizations. Additional information is available at www.artspace.org.

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Texting and Driving - $150.00 FINE - A Simple Explanation

Cell phone use - especially texting - has become so ingrained in society that far too many people ignore the NO TEXTING AND DRIVING LAW.

The Michigan City Police are noticing more and more of this on a regular basis and now with the busy shopping season and fast approaching dangerous driving weather upon us and we are warning citizens of not only the dangers yet the fact that citations will be issued.

57 percent of Americans view their cellphones as key to their social life, and most view texting as a vital feature. Yet to mix this activity with driving is statistically extremely dangerous.

  • Five seconds is the average time a driver’s eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling 55 mph that is enough time to cover the length of a football field.
  • In 2011, at least 23 percent of auto collisions involved cell phones, equaling 1.3 million crashes.
  • At any given daylight moment across America, about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving. IC 9-21-8-0.5 

Specifically, the Indiana distracted driving law  (IC 9-21-8-59) prohibits drivers from typing a text message, transmitting the message or reading an electronic mail message. This also means all drivers regardless of age are prohibited from texting or surfing on the internet even when stopped for a traffic light.

Cell Phones
Drivers under 18 – are prohibited from using cell phones (handheld or hands-free) while driving. PERIOD

Texting
All Indiana drivers NO MATTER WHAT AGE are prohibited from texting while driving

How is it Enforced?
Indiana’s cell phone and texting laws are considered “primary” laws. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and can pull you over immediately and issue a citation. The citation will cost you $150.00 and is tripled in a construction zone!

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Uptown Arts District Façade Improvement Applications Now Available

The Michigan City Uptown Arts District Façade Improvement Program through the Redevelopment Commission is designed to promote the continued use and maintenance of commercial and residential buildings in the downtown/Uptown Arts District area. It is intended to help property owners and commercial tenants to rehabilitate and restore the visible exterior of existing structures. Improvements must meet criteria for appropriateness of design.

For complete program information and application, please click here (PDF).

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Art Scholarships Now Available

The Michigan City Public Art Committee has established a scholarship fund to assist Michigan City children in taking art instruction. Visual art classes or individual art instruction for qualified children between 5 and 18 years of age will be funded. The maximum grant request per individual is $200. Funds will be available for instruction in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, collage, crafts such as beading, mosaic work and weaving, art camps or any combination of these taught by a legitimate instructor. The committee will not fund music, writing, dance, or drama instruction.

Applicants must show financial need and take instruction from an art provider located in the Michigan City city limits. The deadline for applying is at least 30 days before the instruction is scheduled to start.

Click here for Scholarship Guidelines and Application.

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Michigan City Animal Control Seeks Volunteers

The Michigan City Animal Control Division would like to announce a new volunteer program that will encompass Kennel duties located at Michigan City’s Central Maintenance on the west side.  Some of the duties will include, but not limited to feeding of cats and dogs and cleaning the kennel if required.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have their own transportation.  You can find the Application and Waiver forms at emichigancity.com under the Animal Control tab and the Michigan City Police Department’s Facebook page.  Applications and Waivers will also be available at the front desk of the police department.  Once the forms are completed, please turn them in at the Michigan City Police Department for review, you will be contacted shortly thereafter.

Click here for Dog/Cat Kennel - Michigan City, Indiana Volunteer Application (PDF)

Click here for Dog/Cat Kennel - Volunteer Waiver And Release (PDF)

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Michigan City Named Tree City USA Community

Mayor Ron Meer, is proud to announce that for the 12th consecutive year, Michigan City, Indiana has been named a Tree City USA community for its commitment to urban forestry.

This is a national honor, bestowed upon Michigan City by the Arbor Day Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees.

“We all benefit when communities like Michigan City place a high priority on planting and caring for trees, one of our nation’s most beautiful resources,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation.  “Trees shade our homes and add beauty to our neighborhoods, and they also provide many environmental, economic and social benefits.  We applaud Michigan City’s elected officials, volunteers, and citizens for providing vital care for its urban forest.”

Michigan City has met the four standards to become a Tree City USA community.  Tree City USA communities must have a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, a community forestry program with annual expenditures of at least $2 per capita, and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

Communities that earn Tree City USA recognition not only have taken the time to meet the four standards, they know that trees:

  • Promote healthier communities by filtering the air we breathe by removing dust and other particles.
  • Moderate climate, conserve water and provide vital habitat for wildlife.
  • Reduce the heat island effect in urban areas caused by pavement and buildings.
  • Reduce energy use and increase property values.

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service. 

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Streetlight Outage Reporting

Mayor Ron Meer, in conjunction with NIPSCO, would like to inform the public of an online option available to them in reporting a streetlight outage.

www.nipsco.com/streetlightout is an interactive website designed to allow the public an easier, faster, and much more efficient means of reporting a streetlight outage.  When a person accesses the website, they can report a streetlight outage with just three simple steps. 

Mayor Meer asks the public to please utilize this method of reporting when possible.  This website will eliminate steps in the reporting process and generate an immediate online report directly to NIPSCO.  However, for those who do not have internet access, you are encouraged to please call Central Services at 873-1500.  Central Services will then enter and submit the information on your behalf.

Mayor Meer would like to thank you for your help.  A well lit Michigan City is a safer and more appealing place for both our citizens and visitors.

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Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge

The Indiana Comprehensive Local Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Community Challenge is a voluntary recognition program for local Indiana government. CLEAN helps communities take steps to plan, develop, and implement a quality of life plan. This plan includes gathering input and support from the community and local businesses.

Michigan City was awarded the status of a “CLEAN” community effective December 19, 2007.

To review Michigan City’s Quality of Life Plan and status of our existing projects go to http://www.in.gov/idem/prevention/2361.htm.

For questions on our local please contact:

Charlie Cate, Stakeholder Committee Leader
(219) 833-7591
ccate@emichigancity.com

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Indiana CLEAN

Free Prescription Drug Card Program

As a resident of Indiana, you and your family have access to a FREE Prescription Drug Card program. Simply download your Prescription Drug Card here to receive savings of up to 75% at more than 50,000 national and regional pharmacies. You may create as many cards as you need. Participating pharmacies include the following: Target, Kmart, CVS/pharmacy, Walgreens, Meijer, Kroger as well as thousands of independent pharmacies.

Discounts range in price from 10-70% but average about 30%. It is NOT insurance...it's a membership program, but like insurance you get a card that you show at the pharmacy and they can calculate your discount.

For people with insurance or Medicare, this can work with them as well. Because it is NOT insurance, members would be able to see if they get a better price with their existing insurance or with the card. Usually, the co-pay through insurance will be better, but not always. So having the card could be helpful even to people that already have insurance. (Not to mention many individuals and businesses are going to high deductible plans that don't cover prescriptions.)

This benefit is sponsored by United Networks of America a national healthcare company in conjunction with a consortium of the pharmaceutical companies. This exact program has launched successfully in 30 states over the last 2 years. UNA expects the program to discount over 20,000,000 prescriptions in 2009 for tens of millions of American families when they need help the most.

The membership program may not meet everyone’s need but offers an inexpensive alternative for many. Click here for frequently asked questions about the program.

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Do You Have Special Medical Needs? Let The Fire Dept. Know!

The Michigan City Fire Department is in the process of gathering information on adults and children in the community who have special medical needs. Fire Chief Dave Lamb urge families who use medical care aids such as cardiac monitors, ventilation devices, feeding tubes, wheel chairs, or any other such devices for sustaining the life and health of a family member, to complete this form. Please click here to view and print the form. It then needs to be forwarded to the Fire Department. This form should also be used for community members who are non-ambulatory and would require assistance in leaving their homes in an evacuation situation.

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Are You In Compliance With New City Trash Regulations?

Setting out your weekly trash pickup may seem like a fairly simple mundane task. However, have you considered if you are actually doing so in accordance with recently updated city trash regulations? Are you using city trash containers --- or just placing bags along the curb? If you are using trash containers, great! But are they in compliance with city trash regulations? Are you remodeling a home or building a new one? If you are, what are you doing with the construction rubbish?

  • According to the City Code, it shall be the duty of every person owning or leasing a residence or place of business in the City wherein garbage accumulates to maintain in a clean and odor free condition a cart provided by the City.
  • The only container that may be used must be a cart that the City will supply.
  • All garbage, trash or rubbish which accumulates shall be deposited in either a cart or dumpster.  The lid to every cart and dumpster shall be kept on and closed at all times, other than when placing items in them.
  • Plastic garbage bags with tight-fitting tie closures may be used, but shall be placed inside either a cart or dumpster.
  • All carts must be put out for collection by 7:00 a.m. on the day scheduled for their collection with the arrows located on the carts pointing out toward the street or alley from which collection is made.  All carts must have open access for the trash collectors to retrieve them.
  • For street-side pickup, carts shall be set out no more than 24 hours prior to the usual time of collection and shall be removed within 24 hours after collection.
  • At no time shall the cart be moved from its assigned address.
  • The Refuse Department must be contacted at 873-1530 for special pick-up at the normal collection location of all large items that cannot fit within the cart.
  • The two-wheeled cart Toters are to be used for trash only and they are not to be used for construction materials or compost.

If you're unfamiliar with city regulations on trash containers and construction waste, are curious about what it looks like to be in compliance and not in compliance with the recently revised city trash regulations, or have any questions about city trash regulations, compliancy, or trash pick-ups, click here to learn more.

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Rental Property Smoke Detector Enforcement

The City of Michigan City and the Michigan City Fire Department have begun the implementation of recently enacted Michigan City Ordinance #4020, which regulates smoke detectors for rental properties.

The Fire Department Administration would like to remind all owners of rental property in Michigan City that a two-step process has been enacted to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Michigan City.  First of all, all residential rental units shall be equipped with smoke detectors.  And secondly, a registration requirement has been enacted stating that owners of property which is used as residential rental dwelling units or contains a rental dwelling unit are required to register all such properties with the Michigan City Fire Department.

The passage of Ordinance #4020 included an initial 45-day registration period and owners who have not yet registered their properties should do so immediately.  After this initial registration period following the passage of the Smoke Detectors for Rental Properties Ordinance earlier this year, owners shall be required  to register all such properties on an annual basis, by January 31st of each year.  Additionally, for new owners of rental property at any point throughout the year, registration is required within 30 days of becoming an owner of the real property to be used as residential rental property or rental dwelling units.

Rental property smoke detector registration forms can be obtained electronically over the internet at http://www.emichigancity.com/cityhall/departments/fire/, or they can be obtained in person from the Fire Department Administrative Office at 2510 East Michigan Boulevard.

Anyone with questions regarding smoke detectors for rental properties can contact Kyle A. Kazmierczak, Division Chief of Inspections, at (219) 873-1453 or Jeff Santana, Assistant Inspector, at (219) 873-1440.         

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Michigan City Noted as Top City for Affordability

Michigan City has been identified by CityTownInfo.com as one of the state's top cities for affordable property taxes.

Compared to other communities which are similar in size and diversity to Michigan City, our community is in the top 12% of communities regarding affordable property taxes, top 17% of affordable rent. Compared to all communities in the state, Michigan City rates in the top 14% of short commute times.

The website page dedicated to Michigan City, http://www.citytowninfo.com/places/indiana/michigan-city, lists many other demographic statistics, including politics, wealth, ancestry, commute and sprawl, housing, crime and climate.

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