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Michigan City South Shore

Planning is underway for development around the Michigan City South Shore station, as well as other current and proposed commuter rail stations.

The engineering and planning firm MKSK has joined the consulting team that's advising local officials on transit-oriented development around South Shore Line stations.

An MKSK principal described some of the firm's projects to a committee advising the Regional Development Authority at its Wednesday meeting.

Landscape architect Eric Lucas told the Transit Development District Steering Committee, made up of representatives of each community with a South Shore station, that MKSK projects in Indianapolis and Clarksville, Indiana, and Columbus and Akron, Ohio, are similar in footprint, context and other characteristics to the South Shore-related opportunities.

"They've all gone through a similar process," Lucas said, "in terms of engaging the community, engaging stakeholders, looking at best practices, understanding things that are in flight already in the community, how to leverage investment that's already occurring."

The projects include redevelopment of a GM stamping plant site in Indianapolis and another site on the city's west side, property on the Ohio River near Louisville in Clarksville, and projects in downtown Columbus and Akron. Details of MKSK's projects are available on its website at www.mkskstudios.com.

The firm joins Policy Analytics and KPMG as consultants on the transit-oriented development projects. The RDA oversees the work, and is the financial agency for the transit development districts authorized by state legislation in 2017.

The legislation provided for creation of one-half square mile districts around current and proposed commuter rail stations targeted for development. The districts will collect the incremental growth in property and income taxes to support development in them.

Once TDD plans are developed and approved by the RDA's board of directors, they will require approval by the State Budget Committee, which includes legislators and the state's budget director.

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Transportation Reporter

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.