Challenge Grant Announcement Delayed

Just a quick programming note: the RDA was scheduled to announce the recipients of the first round of Community Challenge Grants on April 30. However, changes to our Board of Directors have pushed this announcement back to after our May board meeting.

RDA Board Holds First Meeting of 2013

The Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority met Tuesday, April 2 at the Purdue Tech Center in Crown Point for their first gathering of 2013. Business conducted at the meeting included the approval of a joint business plan for commuter transit in the region in partnership with NICTD; appointment of officers; receipt of the annual financial audit; and an update on ongoing projects.

The Board reappointed all officers to their positions, including Leigh Morris as Chairman, Harley Snyder as Vice Chairman and Bill Joiner as Treasurer. This fulfills a legislative requirement that the Board elect officers at the first meeting of every year.
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Novak to Step Down from RDA Board

Pete Novak

Peter Novak, the City of Hammond’s appointee to the Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), is resigning from the Board effective April 30. Novak, CEO of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS®, cited an increasingly busy professional life and a desire to dedicate more time to family and academic pursuits as reasons for stepping away.

“I have very much enjoyed my appointment to the Board, but changes in my personal and professional life since 2009 are demanding more and more of my time,” Novak said. “I would like to thank Mayor McDermott, RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna, Chairman Leigh Morris and all of the Board for a tremendous experience. I’m sure that the next Hammond representative will find them as conscientious and dedicated to Northwest Indiana as I have.”

“Pete has been a very engaged and effective member of the Board,” Morris said. “His insights have been particularly significant in shaping our role in supporting regional economic development. He is a very effective advocate for Northwest Indiana, and I know he will continue to be.”

Hanna also saluted the outgoing Novak. “Our Board has diverse backgrounds and Pete brought a unique perspective to our discussions,” he said. “He is a great example of the talent and ability we have here in Northwest Indiana. I don’t doubt that his future is bright.”

RDA Board Approves Transit Plan Partnership with NICTD

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District (NICTD) have chosen URS Corporation to develop a strategic business plan for commuter transit in northern Indiana.

The two organizations will split the estimated $550,000 cost of the plan, which is expected to be complete in early 2014. The RDA Board of Directors approved funding for its half of the study during its quarterly board meeting today. This follows NICTD, whose Board signed off on the project in late March

“Connectivity to Chicago is key to the economic health of the region,” said RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna. “This plan will help us to maximize the job creation and economic development potential of the South Shore line.”

Mark Yagelski, NICTD Board Chairman and LaPorte County Council President, said that NICTD is looking forward to having the RDA/URS team help chart a course for future strategic investment that will enhance Northwest Indiana’s access to Chicago.

Items and issues that URS will address as part of the strategic plan include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategies for increased ridership
  • Transit-Oriented Development
  • Access to airports and recreational destinations
  • Public/private partnerships
  • Expansion of service