Milo focuses on jobs in State of City address

2013-03-14T21:13:00Z 2013-03-14T21:53:09Z Milo focuses on jobs in State of City addressBy Stan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 14, 2013 9:13 pm  • 

In her state of the city address, La Porte Mayor Blair Milo Thursday night said the city is at the cusp of major economic gains both from job creation and new retail growth.

''Not only are great things happening in our city, but amazing things are yet to come,'' Milo said.

Milo pointed to the 137-acre expansion of the Thomas Rose Industrial Park last summer and the ongoing efforts to begin equipping the new ground with roads, water and sewer along with rail beginning this summer.

She said three expansion projects totaling $51 million in new investment from existing firms at the park have emerged since the expansion and talks are ongoing with more than 20 companies interested in locating there.

Milo said the expansion at full occupancy has the potential to create up to 1,000 new manufacturing jobs and nearly 350 spin-off jobs in areas such as retail, food and beverage and health care.

Another opportunity rests with New Porte Landing, a 150-acre site known as the old Allis Chalmers land next to Pine Lake Avenue.

She said the recent addition of Holladay Properties, which has successful developments nationwide including properties in Portage and Mishawaka, to develop the site has put construction of brand name retail stores on a much faster track.

Residential and recreation use is part of the vision for the site, which has undergone significant environmental remediation over the last 15 years.

Other highlights of her speech included La Porte becoming a place for major events such last year's Pyrotechnics Guild International and the first Maple City Grand Prix, a boat race scheduled for Stone Lake in late May and early June that should bring large crowds and ''an injection of millions of dollars in the local economy.''

Milo also said a grant was obtained to treat Pine Lake with a chemical that will eradicate the invasive Eurasian milfoil weed before the summer boating season.

Gains also have been made in the challenge to combat the drug problem, especially heroin, with programs like a new drug court that focuses more on treatment than jail time and educating students.

''La Porte, like so many other communities, has seen tough times over the years. But, by working as a team focusing on common goals and believing that we have what it takes to be an outstanding community, we have already seen great successes,'' she said.

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