Lake Station poised to become next community to back South Shore project

2014-03-19T21:30:00Z 2014-03-19T22:47:13Z Lake Station poised to become next community to back South Shore projectElvia Malagon, (219) 933-3246

LAKE STATION | Lake Station is expected to become the latest Lake County community to provide financial backing for the South Shore extension to Dyer.

Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist said the Board of Public Works on Tuesday approved dedicating 20 percent of its county economic development income tax toward the South Shore expansion. The City Council is expected to vote on the resolution Thursday. 

"I do expect it to be favorable," he said about the vote.

Soderquist estimates the percentage will total just less than $70,000 a year for an indefinite time period.

If Lake Station's City Council approves the measure, it will join Lake County, Highland, Hobart, Munster and Whiting in financially backing the $571 million project. All of the cities have pledged a portion of their county's economic development income tax.

As of Wednesday, the pledges totaled $2.8 million and about $4.7 million more still is needed. 

The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority has pledged $8 million, and the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation directing $4 million to the project. 

Though the expansion won't directly affect his city, it will benefit the county, Soderquist said. He said the line to Dyer eventually could lead to additional expansion to the east of the county, which would directly affect Lake Station residents. 

"This is one key factor for growth that you must have," he said. 

Lake Station Councilman Todd Lara said Wednesday he was undecided on how he would vote. 

"I don't know if right now is the right time for the city," Lara said. "Our roads just got destroyed. Every community is seeing that."

He said the city already had taken a hit during the past five years from various tax cuts. He said the city could use money from the county economic development income tax to make improvements to the city.

The Lake Station council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday at 3625 Central Ave. 

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