EAST CHICAGO |The city is looking to rezone a stretch of eastern Chicago Avenue to make the area more attractive for development.
The Plan Commission has approved designating five blocks as commercial along the southern side of the road, from Riley Park to Parrish Avenue, property previously zoned for residential use.
City Planner Richard Morrisroe said the near half-mile span of city-owned lots includes the 1100 through 1600 blocks of East Chicago Avenue.
The Plan Commission recommendation must still be accepted by the City Council, which has final authority over zoning changes.
One section of the property already being eyed by developers is the southwestern corner with Euclid Avenue, or 1305-1319 Chicago Ave., where a Schererville-based gasoline retailer has expressed interest in building a gas station and convenience store.
The Board of Public Works transfered that property, once a filling station, then a body shop and now an empty lot, to the city's Redevelopment Commission in September to speed its eventual sale and reuse.
Another parcel transferred by the works board to redevelopment for sale was a 2-acre piece along Chicago Avenue at the foot of the Railroad Avenue overpass.
An adjacent heavy equipment rental company approached the city with an offer to buy the land for expansion of its facility earlier this year.