GARY | The Steel City Truck Stop will go from aging stop to full-service travel center, bringing drivers and hopefully jobs to Gary, officials said.
The city and TravelCenters of America held groundbreaking Tuesday morning for what will be a the new Gary Petro center on Grant Street just south of Interstate 80/94.
Set to open in the first half of 2013, the new center will have an Iron Skillet restaurant, a combination Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, a fitness center, a laundry room, movie and TV rooms for professional drivers, gas pumps, showers, a travel store, a cell phone store and other amenities for both truckers and average motorists.
"It's going to be even bigger and better," said city Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson, who represents District 5. "An awesome development for the district. An awesome development for the city."
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson praised the move.
“This partnership is another example of why developing the Department of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation was a good decision,” Freeman-Wilson said in a statement. “We’ve been able to attract another business to our city that will provide both great services as well as jobs to our citizens.”
Robinson said the plans could bring more than 100 jobs to the struggling city.
"One job coming, to me, is great," she said.
TravelCenters said the new stop will be good for Gary and for drivers on I-80/94.
“I’m very happy about the groundbreaking for the new Petro location in Gary,” Tom O’Brien, president and CEO of TravelCenters, said in statement. “We are thrilled to be able to bring a brand new, state-of-the-art, full-service travel center to the professional driving population and the city of Gary.”
Forest Hayes, who is director of both the Commerce Department and the city's Economic Development Corporation, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.