MICHIGAN CITY | It appears travelers to Blue Chip Casino and Michigan City's nearby lakefront will soon have a red carpet of sorts rolled out from one end to the other.
The city council this week allocated more than $1 million toward finishing the beautification of U.S. 35, also known as Michigan Boulevard.
The total cost will be about $6 million with the balance of the money coming from additional local and federal sources, said City Planner Craig Phillips.
About $10 million in work was completed over a year ago on resurfacing, redesigning and beautifying U.S. 35 from Roeske Avenue to U.S. 12 next to the casino.
Mayor Ron Meer said the remaining stretch of the highway from Roeske Avenue to an area just west of Interstate 94 won't receive as many of the aesthetic improvements.
That stretch of highway will be resurfaced and widened and include things like turning lanes and extension of a bicycle trail and new sidewalks that were part of the initial reconstruction.
“It's more of a wide open concept,” said Meer.
Construction could start in the fall or early in 2014 and take one year to complete, said Phillips.
Phillips said the last phase of the U.S. 35 improvements will cost about $6 million.
He said the balance of the funds for the upcoming work will consist of additional Major Moves dollars previously set aside for the project along with federal dollars secured through the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission.
Phillips said bids will likely be solicited in August with work starting either in the fall or early in 2014.
It'll take about a year to complete the job.
Phillips said there have been many positive responses to the complete facelift already done to U.S. 35 now considered an “enhanced gateway into the city.”
He said the work has not attracted any new direct investment yet into an area long struggling economically but that is expected to change.
“It's definitely going to be a benefit to the city,” said Phillips.