The work comes as crews heard toward a spring 2024 completion of the South Shore Double Track project, which will run a second line of train track nearly 17 miles between Gary and Michigan City, reducing commute times to Chicago by about 20 minutes. Testing of the new line is underway.
Sherri Ziller, CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, said in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick it’s all part of a region revitalization.
“Michigan City is poised for development,” she said. “It’s been very encouraging to watch them and other communities really take advantage of the realignment and expansion of the rail projects and all the development that’s coming along with that here in northwest Indiana.”
Another site that is being primed for redevelopment is the Indiana State Prison property in Michigan City. The Indiana Department of Correction last month received $1.2 billion from the State Budget Committee to build a new prison on the site of the existing Westville Correctional Facility. That project will consolidate the WCF and Indiana State Prison.
“It’s a large site. It can fit some much needed affordable housing, senior housing workforce housing, along with the necessary retail and office space that Michigan City is seeking it,” Ziller said. “This could serve as a major job generator for Michigan City.”
But it’s not just Michigan City that is seeing a boom in development in the region. Officials in Gary broke ground last month on the revitalization of the historic Gary Union Station into a “Fiber Smart House” that will serve as a technology workforce and educational training hub.
Ziller credits a group known as the Decay Devils, which bought the property that was one listed on Indiana Landmarks’ 10 Most Endangered list.
“They’re a volunteer group dedicated to making abandoned spaces usable again. They did that all on their own to the point where they attracted an investor to turn it into a tech center.”
You can watch the full interview with Sherri Ziller in the video above.