Griffith, Indiana, is looking to the future, with many plans to continue its business growth and improve the quality of life for its residents.
Plans and fresh ideas are being brought to reality with energy and resolve, through the efforts of the Griffith Chamber of Commerce, the Imagine Griffith Project — formed to carry on the work begun at the Griffith/Ball State Workshop — and the Griffith Town Council. The vision is of a vital, growing community with new businesses, activities, and amenities.
A major renovation is planned for Main Street from Lafayette Street to the bike path. New curbs, sidewalks with paving bricks, and decorative street lights will soon create a welcoming extended downtown environment for residents, businesses, and visitors. Griffith Town Council President Rick Ryfa explained, “The objective is to mirror the work done in the Downtown district on Broad Street, creating a very appealing streetscape to attract new business as a parallel to the Downtown Business district .extension.” Work on this exciting development is expected to start this spring. A natural addition to that project is developing plans for a more comprehensive street resurfacing program that will repave many of Griffith’s neighborhood streets now and in future years.
There’s much anticipation for a Griffith Neighborhood Improvement Program designed to encourage residents to improve their properties, by reducing obstacles and modifying permit fees. The Griffith Town Council will be working closely with the town’s Redevelopment and Economic Development Commissions to expand upon previous facade programs and revitalization efforts.
With the safety and security of residents and business always a priority, the Griffith Town Council will support the efforts of the Griffith Police Department as it continues to implement the innovative crime-fighting tactics that resulted in reducing violent crimes in Griffith by 36 percent compared to the previous year.
Griffith has at least 15 community and civic organizations helping to make this town a close-knit community that participates in and supports diverse activities in sports, history, and the arts. There are sports teams for youth, veterans’ organizations, and a Historical Society, among others. The Franklin Center is a focal point of Downtown Griffith. On the main floor, the YMCA offers everything from Zumba classes to a licensed day care. “There’s lot going on there, and the programs are constantly evolving to meet the needs of the members,” said George Jerome, Griffith’s clerk-treasurer. The Center is also home to a large model train layout and train club, the South Shore Dance Academy, and more — all self-sustaining, with no tax-dollar support.
Along with supporting economic development, "Our chamber of commerce really interacts with the community, hosting five community events a year. We're especially proud of our annual scholarship to a high school senior," said the chamber’s Carl Zurbriggen.
Central Park is busy, providing a pleasing, natural venue for events that include local artists’ exhibits, and concerts performed by the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. Starting in May and continuing every Friday into October, Central Market returns to Central Park after a very successful debut last year, with a wide variety of food and specialty items, a craft beer garden, and weekly live entertainment.
Be sure to mark your calendars this year for Griffith’s 6th Annual Rock ‘N’ Rail Street Festival. This year, with another day added, the festival will run Thursday through Sunday over Labor Day weekend, featuring non-stop live music, dozens of food vendors and a giant family beer garden.
Come grow with Griffith!