C.P. eyes contribution to economic development group

2014-03-11T17:45:00Z 2014-03-11T21:37:04Z C.P. eyes contribution to economic development groupSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | City officials are considering a pledge of up to $60,000 of redevelopment dollars over three years to the year-old Lake County Economic Alliance.

The Redevelopment Commission was approached Monday by the Lake County Economic Alliance's Sue Reed, executive director of the Crossroads Chamber of Commerce.

The board indicated willingness to make a contribution but postponed a decision on the amount until City Attorney David Nicholls is able to review documents provided by the organization.

Lake County Economic Alliance would provide links and contacts, including online tools for tracking available properties, to prospective businesses considering locating in the area, Reed said.

"Our goal is to be the voice of economic development" for Lake County, Reed said.

The organization would have ability to handle any leads that come in, she said.

"We would try to make sure we're not losing anybody looking to locate here," Reed said.

Similar alliances for promoting regional economic development are becoming more common across the state, Redevelopment Commission member Tom Keilman said.

"We're starting to see more of these countywide efforts," said Keilman, who also is director of government and public affairs for the BP Whiting Business Unit.

A contribution from Crown Point would be added to dollars already pledged by NIPSCO and Hammond, among others.

Whiting, Hobart, Munster, St. John and other area communities also are being approached as Lake County Economic Alliance undertakes a capital campaign, Reed said. An April event is planned in Merrillville to formally kick off the campaign, Reed said.

Pledges totaling $150,000 mean the organization could hire an executive director, Reed said. An ultimate goal of $350,000 in contributions has been set.

Pledges to the organization currently include $50,000 over three years by Hammond and $20,000 a year for three years by NIPSCO, Reed said.

Other contributions include $15,000 each from Valparaiso-based Regional Development Co. and from the firm Krieg DeVault, according to the Lake County Economic Alliance website.

The Crossroads and Lakeshore chambers of commerce also are contributors, along with Merrillville-based firm Commercial In-Sites.

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