Train station seen as spur to residential, business growth
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Train station seen as spur to residential, business growth

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DYER — Looking ahead 20 years, Town Manager Tom DeGuilio sees his community as stable, with the capacity for growth internally through new businesses, enhanced existing businesses, and more vertical residential developments.

This is due, in part, to the South Shore station coming. Officially to be located in Munster, the station will be located north of Main Street and east of Sheffield Avenue.

“The train will have a big impact,” said DeGuilio, town manager since 2016 and 45 years in local government. “It will change the complexion of the area.”

With the South Shore Line providing easier access to Chicagoland, DeGuilio noted, “You’ll have more people who can move here, who want to move here.”

With an estimated 2017 population of 15,941 and a total area of 6.1 square miles, Dyer was ranked 15th in Indiana as “The Best Place for Young Families” by Nerd Wallet in 2015. The town was also ranked as the ninth safest city in Indiana by SafeWise

Residentially, DeGuilio sees more redevelopment and new and different development. In 2012, he said, Dyer had plenty of vacant lots, but that’s no longer the case. He sees the town moving from traditional, single-family subdivisions to higher density projects, with more vertical, multi-level developments coming.

DeGuilio also sees older homes that may be losing their appeal undergoing redevelopment.

“I see that happening all over,” the town manager said.

Other projects include work on the 70-acre Central Park, renovations to Northgate Park, and developing more areas for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Commercially, DeGuilio sees more business development, including professional offices and restaurants, along the U.S. 30 corridor.

With the presence of Franciscan Health Dyer, DeGuilio sees continued medical offices in the community. With added green space, he sees the Calumet Avenue Corridor “thriving” with medical and professional tenants.

The town is currently updating its comprehensive plan, with these seven goals:

• Establish a clear regional identity for Dyer for the 21st century.

• Create a new walkable downtown core.

• Capture the economic potential of the new train station.

• Transform the Sheffield corridor into a vibrant multimodal street.

• Maximize economic development potential along the Calumet Avenue corridor.

• Invest in long-term redevelopment of the U.S. 30 corridor.

• Prioritize investments in creating a connected trail system.

The 2020 plan lays out a framework to reinvest in the area around the Hart Street and U.S. 30 intersection for a new walkable downtown core for Dyer. This was the site for Dyer’s original downtown around the early 1900s. Although the original hotel, creamery, sauerkraut and pickle factory, and saloons are gone with the widening of U.S. 30, Hart Street still retains the scale and character of old Dyer, according to the plan.

The plan also calls for a new pedestrian plaza at the southwest corner of Hart Street and U.S. 30, with signage for the Franciscan hospital with seating lighting and landscaping elements.

Sheffield Avenue corridor improvements include a redesigned Sheffield Avenue right of way, with landscape medians and streetscaping. Curb cuts would be minimized to create continuous sidewalks, according to the updated plan.

The Main Street part of the plan offers an opportunity to create a walkable and green neighborhood within walking distance of the South Shore train station. It features a pedestrian connection to the train station and bike trail along the south side of Main Street.

As Calumet Avenue offers the last remaining concentration of vacant land in the town, the plan offers zoning for medical, commercial, and senior care facilities, multi-family uses, and light industry.

New public roads would clearly define the west edge of Central Park and connect 213th Street to the north, creating a desirable address for new development facing the park. A new east-west road would offer a connection between Calumet Avenue and Central Park.

Currently under construction along the east side of Calumet Avenue is Cedarhurst, a residential facility featuring senior assisted living and memory care. The 5-acre property is expected to open later this year.

The updated town plan calls for consolidation along U.S. 30 to minimize turn movements and allow for continuous sidewalks. Other proposals include installing new street trees, signage, and decorative paving to make the street more attractive, along with a bike trail along the south side of the road.

Local municipal improvement projects have included doubling the capacity of water storage and improving the efficiency of the town’s sanitary treatment plant.

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