Marquette Park Restoration Honored with Cook Cup

Indiana Landmarks has awarded the 2014 Cook Cup to the City of Gary for the restoration of Marquette Park.

As the famous nineteenth-century architect of Chicago’s lakefront Daniel Burnham directed, “Make big plans; aim high in life and work…” Back in the 1990s, Congressman Pete Visclosky took Burnham’s advice, championing a comprehensive vision, called the Marquette Plan, to reclaim 21 miles of Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline—from the Illinois line to LaPorte County—for public enjoyment and recreation.

Following Burnham’s dictum and the Marquette Plan, the City of Gary restored historic Marquette Park—241 acres along Lake Michigan—with $28.2 million from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. Indiana Landmarks recognized the project with the 2014 Cook Cup for Outstanding Restoration, awarded at our Rescue Party on April 26.

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RDA Approves Job Creation Incentives

The Board of Directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority today authorized the use of $3.3 million from the RDA’s No-Interest Securitized Forgivable Loan Fund to support job creation efforts in Northwest Indiana.

The funds will be used to support two projects, one in Lake County and one in Porter County, which combined would result in approximately $33 million in investment and the creation of up to 285 jobs. Further details remain confidential pending completion of the deals. No RDA funds will be issued if the projects do not come to fruition.

“We are working closely with local and state officials on these and other efforts to create jobs and grow the economy in Northwest Indiana,” said Bill Hanna, RDA President and CEO.

Since 2011, the RDA has used the No-Interest Securitized Forgivable Loan Fund six times to help the Indiana Economic Development Corporation secure approximately 854 jobs and $474 million in investment in the region. If these two projects are realized, those numbers would rise to 1,139 jobs and more than $507 million in investment.

Hammond, RDA Celebrate Boardwalk Opening

(l. to r.) Tom Dabertin, Hammond appointee to the RDA Board of Directors, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott and RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna at today’s dedication.

Hammond residents and officials marked the opening of the new boardwalk and bike trail at Wolf Lake in a ceremony on the new span this afternoon. “This is one of the most unique bike trails I’ve ever seen,” said Hammond mayor and cyclist Tom McDermott. The new trail, which runs along a formerly inaccessible portion of Wolf Lake next to the Indiana Toll Road, combines a blacktop path laid on a NIPSCO right-of-way with a 1,200-foot boardwalk over part of the lake itself. This part of the trail will in turn be connected to the Illinois trail system later this year.

The new connection is part of the more than $50 million in improvements at Wolf Lake over the past several years. Other new features include the Pavilion, a new conservatory, a splash pad and a makeover of Forsythe Park. All of the improvements were fueled by a grant of more than $30 million from the Regional Development Authority. “This was a partnership between the city, the Hammond Port Authority and the RDA,” the mayor said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

“Without implementation, a visionary runs the risk of being called just a dreamer,” said Bill Hanna, President and CEO of the RDA. “The City of Hammond is fortunate to have someone in Mayor McDermott who can do both. This is a compelling gateway to Chicago and he has done a fabulous job.”

More pictures below the fold.
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