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Development Eyed Along NW Ind.’s Little Calumet River

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“The cost of building up the property made it impractical under the previous conditions, but now it’s a lot more attractive to developers,” he said.

Gary has no concrete plans for development along the Little Calumet River at this point, but could look at enhancing green space and adding another riverfront trail near Broadway, said J. Forest Hayes, director of the city’s Commerce Department. Such amenities could fit in with the University Park redevelopment district that would include a new IUN performing arts center, mixed-use and retail buildings along Broadway, and in-fill housing that college students could afford.

“There’s the potential there for biking or walking,” he said. “There’s a holistic attempt to develop a new neighborhood with a good quality of life, where students could actually live closer to the institution, and have options for eating and dining.”

Griffith has been working with an engineering firm to convince the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move a levee further north, so as remove more land from the flood zone and encourage development along the Little Cal, clerk-treasurer George Jerome said. The goal is to redevelop the former Griffith Golf Center off Cline Avenue.

“The town would benefit from something that would pay a lot of taxes,” he said. “Once the levee is in place, we could look at retail, light industrial, maybe a hotel. A casino would be beautiful, but we haven’t honed in on anything and would have to have discussions with developers.”

The town owns 52 acres of land along the Little Calumet River it hopes will be developed, and could use tax-increment financing dollars to put in infrastructure. Ball State University students who did a planning study for the town suggested the area would be ideal for a canoe livery, and maybe a seafood or wild game restaurant.

The idea of canoeing down the Little Calumet River may have once seemed inconceivable, but times are changing, Jerome said.

“Twenty-five years from now, it could be a recreational river,” he said. “When I was young, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland was filthy. Now if you go to Cleveland, it’s upscale restaurants and boats. It just takes time and money and commitment.”

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Nov 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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