(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, here, here and here.)
Every raging fire starts with a spark; the $28 million RDA investment in Gary’s Marquette Park is the spark that serves as the catalyst for additional robust development in the immediate Miller Beach Neighborhood, having a far-reaching impact on the remainder of the city and region.
The park bordered by Lake Michigan on the North and The Dunes National Lakeshore to the West and South enhances the urban recreation destination and investment. Encouraged by this, the Miller Beach Arts and Creative District (MBACD), have projects planned in a designated arts district 1.5 miles from the park.
(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, here, and here.)
In 2008, the City of East Chicago entered into an agreement with the Regional Development Authority (RDA). The total amount of funding awarded to date totals $7.03 million. The City of East Chicago has pursued a community transformation project that will aggressively redevelop as a lakefront community with strong ties to business and Industry. The initial project was a joint venture with the City of Gary and the City of East Chicago that identified barriers to further development along the Lakefront. Along with the challenges and barriers, the City identified several opportunities that were subsequently pursued.
The City developed the Shoreline Gateway plan that included property assembly, demolition and leveraging private sector investment for both housing and commercial redevelopment. The City’s partner in this housing transformation is the Community Builders Inc.
To date, the RDA has provided matching funds totaling $1.48 million. Without the support of the Regional Development Authority, the private sector would not have been able to leverage $2.5 million in funding for townhomes, site preparation and demolition, homeownership programs and a senior building. These funds are contributing factors for the Senior Building Development ($11.5 million) and the Main and Broadway Development ($10 million).
The Duneland Chamber of Commerce has added its voice to those urging the Indiana General Assembly to extend state funding for the RDA beyond 2015. “Since its creation in 2006, the RDA has been a critical component of major economic development initiatives which have had an immediate impact on job creation and have improved the quality of life in Northwest Indiana,” the Chamber writes. “The RDA has been a model for promoting regionalism in economic development, and the Duneland Chamber of Commerce urges the State of Indiana to continue to be a part of this regional effort.”
Read the Chamber’s complete letter here.
Other regional groups supporting extended state funding for the RDA include the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Northwest Indiana Forum, the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority.
The RDA allocates up to $1 million annually for the Regional Challenge Fund to assist units of local government in Lake and Porter County in leveraging funding from the private sector and/or public entities for public initiatives or projects of regional significance. Each grant has a $200,000 maximum. For more information download our Regional Challenge Fund policy here.