(La Porte, IN) - A new housing boom is underway in La Porte as officials work aggressively toward increasing the city’s long stagnant population.
The city’s Urban Enterprise Association has approved a 10-year property tax abatement for about 60 at or above market priced homes along with space for about 20 professional offices. Over a dozen of the residential units will be in town houses to start being constructed beside Fish Trap Lake in the fall.
Another 50 or so housing units in duplexes along with professional office space are planned across the street at McClung Road and East Shore Parkway. This is in addition to the 200 resort type apartments that just started getting built near Clear Lake.
“We’re really excited about it,” said Bert Cook, executive director of the LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership. He says a lack of desirable housing often causes those hired to work jobs in the area to commute from another community where they live.
Cook acknoledges the local market is saturated by older homes that were not designed for what many consumers entering the housing market desire today. This has long been a major barrier to economic development. “They’re finding better options in Chesterton, Valparaiso or Mishawaka and some of the other places so this is our reaction to that,” Cook said. He expects to secure deals for more new housing, including some at moderate prices, in the coming months.
One of the goals of Mayor Tom Dermody after taking office in January was increasing the population here from 22,000 to 30,000 by 2030. “Things are happening,” he said.
Another plot within the city targeted for new housing is the old Tibma Bakery site now being cleared on Woodward St. Cook said there are about eight lots on that parcel covering about half a city block.
“By the time this strategy plays itself out we’re going to have changes throughout the market,” Cook said. Annexation is part of the game plan for population growth because there isn’t a lot of available ground within the city limits for new development. He said the city will reach out to people about the prospects of joining the city since Indiana law no longer allows municipalities to annex without permission from property owners.
Cook believes a one-third increase in the population in La Porte is obtainable given the work being done now and demand. “I think it’s absolutely a possibility. Not just a possibility but a probability,” he said.