It will take a lot more effort and dedication for the local "leaders" of Hammond to revive their downtown than designing slower traffic flow on Hohman Avenue and State Street.
I've lived in Hammond for almost 50 years (currently live in N.E. Indiana) and I have not witnessed a "real" interest from the local political leaders of Hammond in investing in the downtown except during the time served of the Republican mayors (McDermott Sr. and Dedelow). Examples of their leadership are: building of the Hohman Avenue overpass, the Federal Court House on Hohman, rebuilding of Sibley Boulevard from Calumet Avenue to State Line Avenue, relocating the police department on Sibley, Strack's supermarket locating on Sibley, etc.
If the current local "leaders" of Hammond really wanted to invest in downtown they would have already:
• Relocated the city hall to downtown
• Rebuilt and relocated the Civic Center (including with it a convention center) and relocating it in Downtown, instead of spending millions on duplicating “another” sports complex and locating it in the Woodmar Mall. Has Hammond given up on commercial activity on Indianapolis Boulevard?
In my opinion, this newest "pipe dream" of a South Shore extension plan depends on relocating the South Shore train terminal north of Douglas Street along with this South Shore extension project (if the train station and project are built at all). Enabling this South Shore extension project is not in the local Hammond official’s control, so if it’s not built, do the current local “leaders” of Hammond just keep the downtown area deteriorating?
If the “leaders” of Hammond really want to reinvigorate Downtown Hammond, I would invite you the visit the cities of Fort Wayne and Auburn. The local leaders of these cities haven’t fed their citizens with “pipe dream” possible projects, but have actually made significant progress in rebuilding and reinvigorating their respective downtowns.
Michael Makarewich, Auburn, Ind.