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Former naval training center on Lake Street

Gary returns to development of its lakefront

Contributed By:The 411 News

Shoreline at Lake Street Beach is immediate target for investment

Beginning his 2nd year in office, Gary Mayor Jerome Prince is eyeing development of the city’s lakefront.

Mayor Prince testified before the Indiana General Assembly Committee on Public Policy Wednesday, calling on legislators to pass HB 1090, a bill that promotes lakefront development projects.

Gary is targeting for immediate redevelopment the former naval training center and its surrounding acreage on the lakefront at the north end of Lake Street. If passed, HB 1090 will give the area 6 new liquor licenses, likely to attract investment from restaurants and bars.

The same area was included in a broader plan for lakefront development by the prior mayoral administration of Karen Freeman-Wilson. The Prince administration is taking a different approach this time.

Lakefront development by the prior administration stretched from the naval armory, east to Indian Boundary Road. Gary’s Redevelopment Commission had selected Meridian Hospitality Group to conduct a feasibility study of its plans to bring a hotel, retail, restaurants, entertainment, and recreational facilities to the area.

“We do not have a development partner. We will do it on our own,” Mayor Prince told the committee. The bill does not require any public funds from local, state, or federal entities.

Mayor Prince said the city has future plans to redevelop other parts of its 6 miles of lakefront, from Buffington Harbor on the west to city boundaries on the east. The current plan for redevelopment will partner with the Indiana Dunes National Park to leverage tourism to the national park, Gary’s Marquette Park and the natural beauty of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

HB 1090 is sponsored by Rep. Earl Harris and co-sponsored by Representatives Sean Eberhart, Vanessa Summers, and Edmond Soliday. The bill was approved by the Public Policy Committee and heads next to the House floor for a vote. If approved by the House, it will be scheduled for a hearing and vote in the Senate.

Mayor Prince said HB 1090’s lakefront development combined with improvements along the South Shore Rail Line that will bring a new station to the Miller section are reasons to expect economic gains that will benefit the entire northwest Indiana region.

Story Posted:02/12/2021

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