Development Snapshots: Whiting Lakefront

(Editor’s note: as part of our RDA Transformations video project, the Regional Development Authority asked area communities what RDA had meant to them. This is one of a series of community narratives that were provided to us. Earlier Snapshots can be found here and here.)

The Lakefront Project has resulted in an atmosphere which has been conducive to investment in the community. First the project spurred the City’s investment in Oil City Stadium in preparation for the Lakefront Project freeing up necessary land by moving the previous baseball field from the lakefront. This city stadium investment was able to attract a collegiate league team later to be branded the NWI Oilmen using the stadium as its home field. Two permanent jobs were created and 30 part time. The Oilmen bring in 300 to 800 fans to the stadium for each game. Maintaining this influx of fans has brought visibility, viability, and investment to the community.

The Lakefront Project is stimulating investment also as a result of the quality of life impact the Lakefront Project is having. Four restaurants have popped up since the letting of the project in various stages of operation. The investors in each of the restaurants, has benchmarked the Lakefront Project as being one of the factors for their investment in the community.

BP has partnered with the City of Whiting in past projects and recognizes the value of the direction the Lakefront project has propelled the community. With this in mind, BP has invested in a training campus costing $12 million. Focusing on what the RDA investment is doing to transition the Lakefront, the refinery is visioning possible opportunities going forward building on the amenities and atmosphere created by the RDA Lakefront project.

New investors have approached the city regarding expanding the business district with construction of multi-use facilities. A city/private partnership has taken life to create a lakefront restaurant. This investment will enhance the accessibility to the lake through the creation of a year round destination at the lakefront.

The RDA Lakefront Project has served as an economic driver enabling decisions to be made based on the positive direction of the community and the lakefront accessibility. Linked with the RDA efforts in Hammond and the connectivity of the bike path network also funded by the RDA, the synergy of both communities with the moniker “Southern Shores” has, and will be an economic driver going forward.

NIRPC, NWI Forum Support Extension of RDA State Funding

The Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission and the Northwest Indiana Forum have joined the chorus of regional organizations supporting the Regional Development Authority’s request for continued state funding beyond 2015.

The State of Indiana currently provides $10 million annually to the RDA, which is matched by $17.5 million in local contributions. This state funding, which is drawn from the Major Moves program, is scheduled to end in 2015.

“[T]he success of the RDA n driving projects with regional impact and in leveraging significant funding to match their own investment is in part due to the certainty of the funding stream,” states the Forum. “Clearly, there is considerable work needed to build on the successes achieved to date. This will be maximized by agreeing to extend the State of Indiana funding for the RDA and doing so before 2015.” Read their complete position paper here (.pdf).

“In order to sustain the economic development and job creation benefits provided by the RDA, NIRPC supports continued funding from the State of Indiana,” NIRPC’s resolution adds. Read their statement here (.pdf).

Both NIRPC and the Forum are invaluable regional organizations and have been key partners of the RDA since 2006. We are thankful for their continued support.

Development Snapshots: Gateway to the Dunes

(Editor’s note: as part of our RDA Transformations video project, the Regional Development Authority asked area communities what RDA had meant to them. This one of a series of community narratives that were provided to us. Earlier Snapshots can be found here.)

In November of 2009, the RDA and the Town of Porter entered into an agreement for a project what would provide the “Gateway” to the Dunes. As indicated in the planning documents over 128 acres adjacent to the Dunes is being prepared for and marketed as the Gateway to the Dunes.

The total amount of the initial grant award was $1,816,500. Those funds were used to identify and design the “Gateway”, identify and design the first leg of the “Dunes Kankakee Trail” and leverage several million dollars from both Federal and State agencies.
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Development Snapshots: Hammond Lakes

(Editor’s note: as part of our RDA Transformations video project, the Regional Development Authority asked area communities what RDA had meant to them. This is a first in a series of community narratives that were provided to us.)

The Hammond Area Lakes Project has transformed the image of the entire city of Hammond. The city that was dominated by large and medium sized industrial facilities has transformed into an area with diverse recreational opportunities, which has opened the door for business, commercial, and residential development. With this new development comes jobs, increased tax base, investment by businesses and homeowners, and a belief that no goal is unachievable.

This new diversity of opportunity, that was previously believed to be beyond reach, is due to the partnership between the Regional Development Authority and the City of Hammond. Utilizing a combined vision that established specific expectations and implemented thru the support, resources, and funding available from the Regional Development Authority, this project has been a success and forms the foundation for future endeavors.
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