Attorney Darnail Lyles, BS, JD, is one of the newer board members to be appointed just 18 months ago to the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). The RDA was created to help fund major infrastructure projects in Northwest Indiana, such as revitalizing the Lake Michigan shoreline and addressing regional transportation. An avid gardener, Lyles uses many of the same skills in growing flowers, herbs, and vegetables to cultivate a new environment of growth and expansion in Northwest Indiana.
The RDA partners with local government and other public entities, responding to their initiatives and helping them to assure that projects are conceived and carried out efficiently and effectively. Some of the projects that RDA funding is used for include expansion of the Gary Airport, an extension of the South Shore commuter lines, redevelopment of the Lake Michigan shoreline, and regional bus transportation.
“Our job, as public servants, is to make things work, to make things happen,” Lyles said. “The work of the Regional Development Authority is essential to the continued growth of Northwest Indiana because the RDA serves as a catalyst for development in infrastructure and transportation. RDA funding for projects is crucial to the possibility and success of many projects.”
Lyles explained that he believes his background in law and real estate gives him special insight to see value in a property, both present potential and future potential.
“It also helps me to analyze the differing aspects and limitations of the real estate in various communities in Northwest Indiana and Chicago,” Lyles said. “I think at this point we have to analyze the potential for residents of Illinois participating in the Northwest Indiana marketplace whether residential, commercial, industrial, or recreational.”
In particular, as the Gary appointee on the board, Lyles said that he has special aspirations when it comes to the city that he represents.
“My job as an appointee includes making sure things happen for Gary,” Lyles said. “Gary has significant assets which have yet to be fully developed. The RDA has started to assist with developments such as Marquette Park, Lake Street development to the lake, and the Gary/Chicago International Airport. Currently, the double track project at the Miller Station has the potential to spur additional development along Lake Street to the shores of Lake Michigan. It is also the mayor’s hope that the Transit Development District (TDD) in this area will encourage developers to build market-rate housing in Gary as well.”
As for the future, there are other seedling plans and projects in the pipeline that need cultivation. According to Lyles, Gary Mayor Jerome Prince would like to see some sort of high-rise condominium development which would allow for sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. They also have discussed the possibilities of making the City of Gary a technology and entertainment center.
“You just have to jump in and roll your sleeves up and make things happen,” Lyles said. “We have to show the business community our intent and seriousness in purpose. We want to get things done by conducting business in an open honest atmosphere and change the narrative.”