Northwest Indiana RDA Board Member Africa Tarver works for her community

Northwest Indiana RDA Board Member Africa Tarver works for her community

A lifetime resident of Hammond, Africa Tarver spends her days working for the city of Hammond and uses some of her valuable time to support the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). 

As the Hammond appointee to the Indiana RDA Board of Directors, Tarver sees the large benefit that the Indiana RDA has for residents of the Region. 

“The RDA was created to partner with others in the 'heavy lifting' required to develop projects that will make NWI economically vibrant,” Tarver said. 

This ‘heavy lifting’ aligns with the RDA’s mission to focus on building infrastructure and increasing the number of those commuting to and residing throughout Northwest Indiana. To do this, Tarver and her colleagues at the RDA work with agencies and groups to support important projects throughout the area. 

As the Executive Director of Planning and Development for the City of Hammond, Tarver fully understood the work the RDA fulfills and jumped at the opportunity to join its team. 

“I was glad to be appointed to a board with a mission to continuously improve the NWI region,” Tarver said. “The RDA is instrumental in projects throughout the Region that strengthen our economy while enhancing the quality of life.”

Tarver is particularly proud of the RDA’s recent shoreline project. 

“The Marquette Plan-Shoreline Redevelopment fostered tangible quality-of-life improvements for the residents of NWI,” Tarver said. “The investment created several jobs primarily in the tourism and hospitality industries. This transformed a natural resource along the shoreline from an industrial area to a beautiful amenity that can be enjoyed by many.”

Several additional large projects are also on the horizon. Tarver is particularly interested in the West Lake Corridor Project. 

“This project is rebuilding the middle class in NWI by creating jobs and boosting the economy of the Region and state,” Tarver said. “The rail extension will increase connectivity to Chicago, while the transit-oriented development will maximize the amount of residential, business, and leisure space within walking distance of the train stations.”

Tarver’s devotion to her community stems from her long ties to Hammond and to the uniqueness of NWI. 

“We share a rich history in NWI and have an exciting future,” Tarver said. “The Region is a great place to live, work, and play. It is so diverse and offers something for everyone. As a lifetime resident, I am partial to Hammond because I see firsthand how a shared commitment to the community has allowed us to thrive and grow.”

Celebrating this uniqueness, Tarver believes that giving back to the community in her work and other pursuits helps create the future she wants to see. 

“I am a strong believer that whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies,” Tarver said. “Service is important because it continuously feeds our communities with what they need–a shared investment and commitment to the future.”

To learn more about the work of the Indiana Regional Development Authority, visit its website at