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Rail depot replica first stop for growth plans in Highland
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Rail depot replica first stop for growth plans in Highland

In 1910, a train depot was built in Highland, replacing the one that burned down three years earlier between the tracks of the Erie and Lackawanna and Chesapeake and Ohio railways.

A replica of that depot scheduled for completion this fall with modern conveniences including restrooms as part of the municipal parking lot at Kennedy and Highway Avenues.

“The new depot will have a beautiful map showing the location of the public art murals in the downtown, and we’re working on an app that people can download for self-guided walking tours. We also have a history piece telling a bit about the old train depot,” says Kathy DeGuilio-Fox, redevelopment director for Highland.

The fully landscaped parking lot will also have in charging stations for electric vehicles, bicycle parking and rain gardens with plans for a trolley stop to carry riders on the South Shore extension to Highland from Munster.

‘We hope this attracts cyclists, runners and walkers to Downtown Highland as a place to launch and ... a gateway to Highland businesses,” says Mark Schocke, Highland Town Council, Ward 3.

According to Roger Sheeman, 5th Ward Councilman, there’s a lot of action planned for Jewett Street including the expansion of the Highland Public Library with additional parking. Also, Giuseppe's Restaurant of Schererville will be opening a Highland location on Jewett east of the library.

“The former Kiddie Shop property at 2706 Highway Ave. was purchased by Kurt E. Pramuk, DDS,” DeGuilio-Fox says of a long vacant building. “It’s now a beautiful new dental office.”

Fuzzyline Brewing Co., Highland’s first microbrewery, will be opening at 2712 Condit St., in the building once housing Franco’s Sports Bar and Grill. The Highland Redevelopment Commission awarded the owners a Commercial Property Improvement Grant to assist with the renovation.

 Sheeman says more projects are in the works. The town is considering moving a gas station at Indianapolis Avenue and Hart Road for a possible  park.

“People ask about the Ultra Food property, and we’ve keep trying to get the owners to do something with it but it’s still a work in progress,” he says.

A senior housing project is proposed to be built on Scheeringa Farm land, says Schocke, adding that there is controversy surrounding the project.

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