RDA projects and expenditures

2011-06-26T00:00:00Z 2013-05-18T17:56:55Z RDA projects and expenditures nwitimes.com
June 26, 2011 12:00 am

Marquette Park Lakefront East

Projected total cost: $31.5 million

RDA money spent to date: $2.4 million

RDA money committed: $28.2 million

Projected non-RDA funds: $3.3 million

Work began this spring on this effort to rejuvenate the historic Marquette Park on Lake Michigan. The improvements will include the rehabilitation of the recreation pavilion, the aquatorium, Lake Street beach, the lagoon, and perhaps the private development of a former National Guard armory. Marquette Park opened in 1922.

 

East Chicago Shoreline Gateway

Projected total cost: $60.3 million

RDA money spent to date: $1.5 million

RDA money committed: $5.9 million

Projected non-RDA funds: NA

The gateway project will include a vehicle/pedestrian bridge over Cline Avenue that will connect the Indiana Harbor's Main Street district with the lakefront. The lakefront area immediately east of Jeorse Park will be developed as a new beach, greatly expanding the pocket beach now available at the park.

 

East Chicago/Gary Shoreline due diligence

Total cost: $1.1 million

RDA money spent to date: $1.1 million

RDA money committed: $1.1 million

Projected non-RDA funds: $0

This project examined and mapped utilities in the congested energy/rail corridor running from just east of Jeorse Park to Buffington Harbor, in Gary. The rail lines, high voltage electric lines and other utilities there present one of the greatest obstacles to the Marquette Plan's goal of opening up 75 percent of Indiana's lakeshore to public use.

 

Hammond Lakes' Area Marquette Plan improvements

Projected total cost: $54.3 million

RDA money spent to date: $13.7 million

RDA money committed: $31.5

Projected non-RDA funds: $22.8 million

This project represents the largest commitment of RDA funds to date for any single project. It has already resulted in the building of a new amphitheater for shows and concerts. Work on an aquatic center and a pedestrian bridge spanning Indianapolis Blvd. is already under way. A trail through the park will serve as a key pedestrian/bicycle link between Chicago and the Marquette Greenway trail network.

 

Gateway to the Indiana Dunes

Projected total cost: $53.6 million

RDA money spent to date: $1.3 million

RDA money committed: $5.7 million

Projected non-RDA funds: $36 million

This project has heavy INDOT involvement, starting with $7 million worth of construction for the rebuilding of two Ind. 49 bridges over U.S. 12 and U.S. 20. Most of the RDA money committed to the project is being used to extend and improve the Kankakee Trail and for the "Gateway to the Indiana Dunes" park entrance project. The project will also connect the north-south Kankakee Trail with the east-west Calumet Trail.

 

Whiting Lakefront Park

Projected total cost: $46.8 million

RDA money spent to date: $3.1 million

RDA money committed: $22 million

Projected non-RDA funds: $24.8 million

Critical infrastructure improvements including natural gas, electric, water and sewage have been completed with RDA and other grant funding. Next phases of the project will include pedestrian/bike trail connections, a two-tiered boardwalk, and concert venue. A boat harbor is an ultimate goal of the project.

 

Portage Lakefront Park and Riverwalk at National Lakeshore

Total cost: $16 million

RDA money spent to date: $9.7 million

RDA money committed: $9.7 million

Non-RDA funds: $6.3 million

Opened to the public in the summer of 2009, this was the first lakefront project completed with RDA funds. Its 57 acres were at one time a steel mill dump site. The RDA often refers to it as its "signature project." It features a certified "green" pavilion, beach, river walk and fishing pier.

 

Regional Bus Authority

Projected total cost: $13.4 million

RDA money spent to date: $9.8 million

RDA money committed: $11.8 million

Projected non-RDA funds: $1.6 million

The RBA took over the former Hammond Transit in January 2010 and now runs it as easygo Lake Transit. It is using a $3.5 million RDA grant for that purpose. The RBA also has used RDA funds to buy mini-buses for local social service agencies, subsidize GPTC regional routes and establish a regional call center.

 

ChicaGo Dash

Total cost: $6 million

RDA money spent to date: $1.8 million

RDA money committed: $1.8 million

Non-RDA funds: $4.2 million

The express bus service from Valparaiso to Chicago's Loop was established in 2008. Three buses leave Valparaiso's Village Station in the morning rush hour and three return in the evening. The RDA money was granted in 2008 and used to pave a parking lot and establish a stop for the buses. The service is now subsidized by the city of Valparaiso. In March the bus had record ridership of 4,064.

 

Gary/Chicago International Airport expansion

Projected total cost: $130.5 million

RDA money spent to date: $20.2 million

RDA money committed: $50.3 million

Projected non-RDA funds: $80.2 million

The RDA now rivals the Federal Aviation Administration as one of the largest funders of the Gary airport expansion. Previous grants of approximately $20 million were used mainly for land purchases, burying power lines and building a new NIPSCO substation. The RDA recently approved a $30 million grant to build a vehicle overpass for railroad tracks on Airport Road.

 

Little Calumet River Basin flood protection

Total cost: $32.4 million

RDA money spent to date: $6 million

RDA money committed: $6 million

Non-RDA funds: $26.4 million

The money for flood protection was granted to finish the Army Corps of Engineer's levy project along the Little Calumet River. It is the one major project that has been funded outside the RDA's "four corners" of commuter rail, buses, lakeshore and airport. There are now proposals to pay the RDA back out of fees that will be collected from landowners within the Little Calumet basin.

 

NICTD rail cars

Total cost: $51.1 million

RDA money spent to date: $17.5 million

RDA money committed: $17.5 million

Non-RDA funds: $33.6 million

Aiding the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District in the purchase of 14 new double-decker rail cars for the South Shore commuter railroad was one of the RDA's first projects. NICTD initially requested $7.8 million but that was hiked to $17.5 million when some expected state funds failed to materialize. The new cars are in regular use on the South Shore and also benefit the non-RDA counties of St. Joseph and LaPorte.

Sources: Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority; applications for financial support from the cities of Hammond, Gary, East Chicago, and Gary/Chicago International Airport.

 

 

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