As Mayor Angie Nelson Deuitch works on settling into her new role, she’s been formulating a strategy for the continued development of Michigan City.
One of the first items on the agenda is to restructure the city’s Planning, Inspection and Engineering departments over the next 90 days.
“Michigan City is on the verge of a lot of exciting new projects,” the mayor said. “In order for us to be successful, we really have to focus on making sure we have the infrastructure we need. We must ensure our existing neighborhoods, including our sidewalks and streets, are scheduled for repairs and replacement and updates.
“In order for us to do that, we have to have a city engineer and Planning and Inspection departments that are equipped to handle what we currently have and what our future growth holds.”
To aid in that effort, the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission has hired MS Consultants, Inc. to guide the city in restructuring the necessary departments.
“For now, I’m leaving the Planning Department in place as it stands,” Nelson Deuitch said. “The only position that we’ve added is a new building commissioner; Ed Shinn will join Sue Downs in that capacity. But we’re looking at how we should be organized for public works projects, redevelopment, etc.”
Planning Director Skyler York will retain his position, which he’s held for the past four years. He was assistant planning director for five years before that and has nearly 20 years in community development planning and city planning.
“Skyler has actually been wearing two hats,” Nelson Deuitch said. “He’s been serving as our redevelopment director and our director of planning. With everything that’s going on with the Double Track, Sola, and so many other projects in the hopper, it’s imperative that we retain his knowledge; but also figure out a way to reorganize the department so that it’s more effective and Skyler can be successful. Right now, we’re pulling him every which way.”
York said, “I hope to help Mayor Angie bring her vision to fruition. With her leadership on the Common Council and the Redevelopment Commission, we already have achieved some things together; and I think we can build on those things and make them even more robust now that she’s the mayor.”
Nelson Deuitch also appointed a new city engineer, a position that’s been vacant for nearly two years.
Tim Werner, who has 40 years of civil engineering experience in both the public and private sectors, is an expert on issues like public transportation, infrastructure improvement design, quality control and construction.
He comes to Michigan City from his most recent role as special projects engineer for the Indiana Department of Transportation La Porte District.
“I’m excited about Tim being a part of this,” the mayor said. “He’s been serving the community on the Redevelopment Commission and the Sanitary District Board over the past several years. Now, he’ll be able to continue as the city engineer, and really focus on our sidewalks, streets and public works. It will be good for the city because he’s local and he’s already been engaged in the process.”​
Werner said, “Mayor Angie worked on me a long time about coming to help her administration move the city forward. She said she wanted a local engineer who had the best interests of the city in mind, and this is what I want also. So, here I am, ready to work with the mayor, Skyler York, [City Attorney] Amber Lapaich and the other departments to help move Michigan City forward.”