MUNSTER | Munster celebrated its centennial in 2007 and continues the tradition of long-range planning.
“The town’s original land use plan from 1938 is proudly displayed in the entrance to Town Hall,” he said. “That original plan laid out a community that looks very much like present-day Munster.”
Today, Munster’s master plan focuses on the reuse and redevelopment of older areas and proper land use of those few areas still undeveloped, DeGiulio said.
Munster officials have targeted three areas for redevelopment — the north end of Calumet Avenue, the former Simmons Mattress Plant/Lake Business Center at Calumet Avenue and Fran-Lin Parkway and the current Munster Steel site.
Projects on Calumet Avenue’s north end began with construction of Target and Calumet Shopping Center redevelopment. The demolition of the old Carpetland store and the construction of the Munster Shops “have turned this into a popular destination,” he said.
The 72-acre former Simmons bedding factory, called the Lake Business Center since the early 1980s, “is receiving a facelift both inside and out,” said DeGiulio. “In 2014, we will see the construction of a 100-room hotel on land north of the main building and new professional and manufacturing businesses moving into the 1 million-square-foot facility.”
Munster also purchased 11 acres of vacant land northwest of the property for the future West Lake South Shore commuter rail extension by the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
“While it may be a few years away, the town is prepared for location of a train station there,” DeGiulio said.
The Munster Steel site is part of the 45th Street/Calumet Avenue grade separation project that has been more than 70 years in the making. The two-phase grade separation project calls for an underpass for vehicular traffic under elevated railroad tracks that carry CN trains.
“Town officials are working to complete the grade separation with the help of the state of Indiana, the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority and the federal government,” DeGiulio said. “Money for design engineering is in place thanks to a $3.5 million grant supported by Congressman Pete Visclosky and former Senator Richard Lugar.”
In the next few months, development plans will be introduced for the grade separation project, Munster Steel's relocation to a new facility in Hammond and a mixed-use development at the north end of Centennial Park, he said.
“With all these exciting new redevelopment projects under way, it is a good time to remember the basis of Munster’s strong economy and its overall quality of life that includes small businesses, large regional businesses and the strongest medical community in the region,” said DeGiulio.
“The schools and town are rated highly in delivering quality services to the residents. The residential housing stock reflects a high percentage of home ownership,” he said. “I think it is a testament to the pride of the community that, while time has passed, the town has adapted and changed, always looking toward the future.”