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4/21/2018 12:31:00 PM
East Chicago to receive $8.5M grant for Indiana Harbor improvements

Tim Zorn, Post-Tribune Freelance Reporter

East Chicago will get more than $8.5 million for improvements in its Indiana Harbor area, and Hammond will receive $100,000 for work near the proposed Gateway Station.

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority approved grants for both projects on Thursday with no discussion.

The East Chicago grant of $8,545,000 is for the third and final phase of the city’s Waterfront Revitalization Initiative.

The new work includes reconstruction of Guthrie Street, including new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, storm and sanitary sewers, water lines, and street lighting.

The East Chicago grant will also pay for redevelopment of the former Fitzsimmons furniture store on Main Street. The old building will be demolished and replaced with one that has retail space on the ground floor and apartments above.

Earlier phases of East Chicago’s waterfront revitalization have included the Unity Plaza square at 138th and Main streets, and improvements at the Jeorse Park Beach and East Chicago marina. With the latest grant, the RDA will have invested nearly $39 million there.

Milton Reed, East Chicago’s representative on the RDA board, said the projects have given East Chicago residents more options for visiting the waterfront and have brought more business to the Indiana Harbor area.

“We have quite a bit of activity in the area,” he said.

A $100,000 grant for Hammond will go toward a project to demolish 27 properties near the proposed Gateway Station, part of the South Shore Line’s planned West Lake Corridor project. If a Federal Transit Administration grant is approved, the West Lake Corridor would be a nine-mile South Shore line from Hammond to Dyer.

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