CEO: Lakeshore Project 'Will Change Things'Posted: Updated:
The chief executive officer of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority says a $47 million facelift for Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline in Whiting will allow the area to take its "rightful place" in the economic marketplace. Bill Hanna says the multi-year effort has transformed the lakeshore from a "space next to the lake" to a beachfront community with significant amenities. He says strengthening the region's "quality of place" is crucial to driving economic development. Hanna detailed the effort on Inside INdiana Business Television.
September 28, 2014
Whiting, Ind. -- City, region, state and federal officials, area business leaders and residents gathered yesterday evening on Indiana's Lake Michigan shoreline to dedicate the new Whiting Lakefront Park.
"It never gets old, looking behind me at one of our most famous suburbs - Chicago," quipped Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura, referring to the park's view of the Chicago skyline across Lake Michigan. The mayor extended the thanks of his community to all members of the RDA, past and present, for the financial assistance which made the project possible. "You also deserve much of the credit for the millions of dollars in additional public and private investment being made in our community today," he added.
The $47 million renovation on the lakeshore was fueled by $22 million in grants from the RDA. Over the past six years, more than 200 full- and part-time construction workers labored to transform the park into an economic asset and attraction for the community. Initial infrastructure phases, including new sewer and utility lines and a lift station, were completed in 2011. New concessions stands, restrooms and a performing arts pavilion were added in 2012 and 2013. Further improvements included pedestrian and bicycle connections to a regional trail network; safe and engaging watercraft access to the Lake Michigan waterfront; and a new fishing pier, gazebo and promenade along the shoreline. Plans are underway for a new restaurant on-site in the former Whiting gun club building.
The restoration of the shoreline in Whiting is part of the Marquette Plan championed by Indiana Congressman Pete Visclosky. That Plan envisions recapturing 75 percent of the lakeshore for public use. Speaking at the dedication, Congressman Visclosky said that the event was "one of the happiest days of my life because of what Mayor Stahura, the city officials of Whiting and the people of Whiting have done. They have shown us the future in Northwest Indiana."
RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna noted that projects like the Whiting Lakefront Park were exactly what the Indiana General Assembly had in mind when it created the RDA almost a decade ago. "Now we have to keep this going," he said. "This is the stake that has been driven into the ground by this mayor, this congressman, this general assembly and people will remember this as a golden era for Whiting and Northwest Indiana. Change happened, and we have set a new course for the future."
For video of Mayor Stahura's, Congressman Visclosky’s and Bill Hanna's remarks, visit these links, or check our youtube channel at youtube/NWIRDA.
Mayor Joe Stahura: http://youtu.be/PxCUMInKlxk
Congressman Pete Visclosky: http://youtu.be/mNRIICZriO8
RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna: http://youtu.be/KJz9kDwObYs
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About the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority
Established in 2005 through a bipartisan effort including former Governor Mitchell E. Daniels, Congressman Peter J. Visclosky, key state legislators, and local elected officials, the RDA is quasi-governmental development entity entrusted to make public investment decisions within a regional framework for supporting catalytic infrastructure projects and inducing private sector investment. Years of successful results have made it a trusted and tested partner for growth in Northwest Indiana. For more information, visit www.rdatransformation.com or www.in.gov/rda
Source: Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority