Northwest RDA Boosting Big Projects by Millions

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Since 2013, the city of East Chicago has been approved for nearly $30 million in matching RDA funds for the Waterfront Revitalization Initiative. Since 2013, the city of East Chicago has been approved for nearly $30 million in matching RDA funds for the Waterfront Revitalization Initiative.

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority board has approved nearly $13 million to support the second phase of a major redevelopment effort in East Chicago. The RDA says the matching funding for the Waterfront Revitalization Initiative will go toward lakefront and marina improvements, as well as road, bridge and ramp upgrades.

$8.3 million of the grant will be invested in ground routes around the harbor, while $3.5 million will be used for marina and lakefront improvements and the remainder will support other infrastructure projects.

The RDA says the initial phase of the Waterfront Revitalization Initiative has attracted $200 million of outside investment, leveraged in part by the authority's $17 million matching grant from late-2013. RDA Chief Operating Officer Sherri Ziller says "we anticipate significant private investment and additional public leveraging in Phases II and III." Phase I has included projects such as Jeorse Park Beach reconstruction, new retail developments that are nearly complete, derelict property demolitions and wayfinding along Columbus Avenue to Harbor and Marina District.

The RDA also approved more than $250,000 for North Township to match a federal air quality grant for a program involving new buses and extended transit service.

Another plan requested from the board is $6 million for the Town of Munster for a $34.6 million street realignment, relocation and transportation project involving Calumet Avenue and 45th Street.

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