HAMMOND | New bike trails, a conservatory and the expansion of park land are part of an ongoing transformation of Wolf Lake Memorial Park.
The project made possible by a $31.4 million grant by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority kicked off a dozen projects in the area, including five miles of trail along Wolf Lake, Indianapolis Boulevard and Lake Michigan.
"This year we are going to do a lot of cleaning up and maneuvering," Hammond Port Authority Director Milan Kruszynski said. "Folks traveling along Sheffield Avenue will see some demolition of old industrial buildings take place."
Fencing also will come down to develop the area as park land up to Dover Chemical.
"Folks will really see the park expand to the south and become more natural in appearances than it has been since probably anyone can remember," Kruszynski said.
Crews are expected in May to complete a bridge spanning Indianapolis Boulevard and New York Avenue. The bridge will tie the George Lake Bike Trail in Hammond to the Whiting trail system.
The project will extend the trail system from the Pavilion at Wolf Lake south to 129th Street and will wrap to the north along the Indiana Toll Road.
Some of that work will extend into next summer, Kruszynski said. He said additional parking will be added to the area.
A conservatory will go in north of 121st Street and Calumet Avenue near the Splash Pad, where community groups can plant flowers and vegetation.
The groups also will help maintain the conservatory, said Rick Trevino, project design leader with SEH of Indiana.
"I believe a lot of volunteers are ready to go in and do planting," Trevino said.
RDA Executive Director Bill Hanna said the project makes a statement in the area, especially coming off the Toll Road.
"The city has done a good job of programming for it," Hanna said, "and using the investment to stimulate activity in the community and economic development."