The Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority today approved matching grants for East Chicago and Hammond.
The City of East Chicago will receive $8.545 million to fund phase III of the city’s Waterfront Revitalization Initiative, which involves the reconstruction of Guthrie Street and the Fitzsimmons retail project. RDA has previously provided $30.43 million in grants for earlier phases of the initiative.
Guthrie Street is one of the main thoroughfares providing access the East Chicago waterfront.
The scope of the project includes (but is not limited to) the complete reconstruction of approximately 6,000 linear feet of the pavement, concrete sidewalks, concrete curb and gutters, storm and sanitary sewers, and the water main and water service lines. This project will also include installation of IT conduits, as well as street lighting with banner brackets and flower pot hangers. This work will enhance the quality of life along the corridor by addressing items such as safety, accessibility and neighborhood identity. Also included are modernized traffic signals and raised pedestrian crossings.
The Fitzsimmons retail project, located directly across from Unity Plaza (redeveloped part of phase I of the revitalization initiative) and one block south of the Broadway retail project (part of phase II) is designed to complement these projects with 19,000 square feet of new mixed residential and commercial space. The commercial space will front Main Street with views of Unity Plaza. The residential space will be two-story townhomes above the commercial space and along 138th Street.
The phase III grant would be the final installment of East Chicago’s Waterfront Revitalization Initiative.
The City of Hammond is requesting $100,000 toward a $124,464 match needed for the Chicago Street construction and demolition project. Hammond has entered into a construction funding agreement with Indiana Department of Transportation to provide $124,464 in local funds (20%) toward the total $622,318 construction contract to demolish and clear 27 properties acquired by the City in order to provide direct access to land adjacent to the proposed Gateway commuter rail station. This land has been identified for transit oriented re-development purposes which is expected to provide significant return on the investment from the state and local tax revenue generated by the new economic activity.
RDA COO Sherri Ziller also provided an update on the Lake County convention center feasibility study. Phase I of the study, which includes a market analysis and survey of comparable facilities around the country, is largely complete. Phase II, which looks at site analysis, preliminary construction and operations costs, an economic impact analysis and funding options, is in process. The study is expected to be completed in May.