HAMMOND | Construction of a new recreation center on Wolf Lake and a pedestrian overpass across Indianapolis Boulevard can begin immediately now that necessary approvals have been granted.
The Hammond Port Authority has accepted a bid of $2.2 million by Gough Inc. of Merrillville to build the aquatic play center on the southern end Wolf Lake Memorial Park.
Hasse Construction of Calumet City also received approval from the Board of Public Works and Safety to close New York Avenue, and periodically restrict Indianapolis Boulevard, for the $4.1 million cycling/hiking link with the Burnham Greenway trail to downtown Chicago.
Both projects are part of a $31.5 million grant from the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority for Lake Michigan shoreline improvements.
As part of the ongoing Marquette Plan to open up the area for public use, the RDA also funded the construction last year of a new performance pavilion at Wolf Lake and new Little League, Babe Ruth, softball and T-ball fields in adjacent Forsythe Park.
Completion of the family oriented aquatic center, including the showers, changing rooms and a free parking lot, will follow a "very aggressive" schedule, said Port Authority Director Milan Kruszynski, with the facility's opening set for July.
Wolf Lake beach just west of Calumet Avenue next to the play center also will be upgraded as part of the project.
New York Avenue will be available for traffic during holidays and some weekends during construction of the George Lake Trail pedestrian bridge, and the Indiana Department of Transportation specified that any Indianapolis Boulevard lane closings be restricted to late-night hours.
Trucks will be rerouted to Calumet Avenue during the intermittent closures.
In all, $54.3 million has been earmarked for the north Robertsdale improvements, which include the new clubhouse at Lost Marsh Golf Course and the pending reconfiguration of Sheffield Avenue at 129th Street to allow further expansion of Wolf Lake Memorial Park.
"The community is really getting something from the RDA support," Kruszynski said. "The face of Wolf Lake is changing in a good way, bringing more people back to enjoy it."