(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).
Along with addressing community redevelopment efforts in the Harbor, the City also utilized RDA funding for community wide improvement. The City of East Chicago utilized a grant from the RDA for the purposes of relocation of the water filtration plant off of Lake Michigan and freeing up a location adjacent to the Marina and Lakefront for Marina related development. Several agencies were involved with this project including the State of Indiana via their revolving loan fund ($43 million), the Federal Office of Management and Budget via American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding ($3 million), tax increment financing from the City ($5.75 million), and the Army Corp of Engineers via a grant ($1.65 million).
As East Chicago continues to pursue a community transformation plan that creates job opportunities and enhances the Lakefront, new development partnerships have emerged. Currently, the City is working in cooperation with ArcelorMittal and Ameristar to create a more efficient and effective use of the Lakefront that provides additional economic development opportunities. These new development opportunities will be coupled with enhanced access to the Lakefront for the residents of East Chicago and the over 6,000 employees, vendors and contractors who live and work in East Chicago. The City and Mayor Copeland are dedicated to seeing this transformation occur and recognize that maintaining jobs and job creation are essential elements to the transformation efforts.