Northwest Indiana parks have partnered with One Region to build a PARKnership between the region's parks systems. Their first project is this prototype built by a PNW student of cohesive holiday parks events in NWI
from November 24 to January 10, 2022.
PORTAGE, INDIANA—The US Department of Transportation awarded the Marquette Greenway project $17.8 million from a 2021 RAISE grant, to be managed by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC). The award will be applied to funding needed to complete the final 17 segments of the continuous 60-mile trail. “NIRPC is absolutely thrilled at the news of receiving the RAISE grant. This represents, by far, the largest single active transportation investment in the history of Northwest Indiana. The Marquette Greenway is befitting of such an honor, and we are grateful to the US Department of Transportation for recognizing the enormous health, economic, and recreational impacts this project will afford our residents and visitors alike,” said Mitch Barloga, Active Transportation Manager at NIRPC.
The Indiana Dunes National Park and nine municipalities have pledged matching funds toward the Marquette Greenway project. NIRPC is the designated administrator, will manage funding and overall project management, and will work with municipal entities on design, engineering, and construction for these segments. “We are appreciative of the energy and commitment of all municipal entities and the National Park, and our partners One Region and the Northwest Indiana Forum on championing this route through the years,” said Barloga.
The funding allows for completion of the project, with a five-year estimated timeline. An additional $5.2 million is needed to complete the funding and will be supplemented from existing funding sources.
The Marquette Greenway will be an uninterrupted span through the Northwest Indiana South Shore region, running between Calumet Park in Chicago and New Buffalo, Michigan. It will connect 130,000 residents within a half-mile of the corridor and regional and national trail systems, and traverses a diverse geographic, ecological, and socio-economical region.
The project began in 2003 as a collaborate effort within the regional Marquette Plan, first spearheaded by Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) to redevelop the Indiana Lake Michigan shoreline as industrial use recedes. NIRPC and partners competed previously for grants in 2017, 2018, and 2019, under previous program names, TIGER and BUILD.
The US Department of Transportation RAISE Grants make $8.8 billion available in twelve rounds of competition for infrastructure projects that have a significant local or regional impact. The US Department of Transportation notes the RAISE program “enables DOT to use a merit-based process to select projects with exceptional benefits, explore ways to deliver projects faster and save on construction costs, and make needed investments in our Nation’s infrastructure.”
As we pursue economic development, it is important to do so sustainably- preserving our natural resources for future generations and for us to enjoy. As a member of The Trail Creek Watershed Partnership, it has been gratifying to see the collaboration among over 30 community agencies and organizations to complete many projects that keep Trail Creek and Lake Michigan clean and accessible to the public for recreation. We need to protect our parks and green spaces and make them available and attractive to all Michigan City residents.
I was glad to be involved in the establishment of the Michigan City Commission on Sustainability; I am looking forward to their advocacy and education in city matters.
Our city faces important challenges and opportunities. These include NICTD's double-track improvements and the closure of the NIPSCO coal burning plant. Both promise to improve the quality of life here. Our neighboring National Park expects significantly increased visitor traffic in the very near future; we need to plan for auto, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic. Let’s make sure Michigan City can make the most of our adjacent attraction. In the end, we must make sure that ALL of Michigan City’s residents benefit.
To plan for the future, public transportation should be attractive to residents and visitors, whether they have a car, or not. Transit-oriented development that is designed to be within walking distance of public transportation, including the South Shore train, must be equitable for families of all income levels. I will work to improve the current public transportation routes, hours and bus stops to better suit the needs of all residents. More and better bus shelters are needed. Young people starting their first job in Michigan City should not have to buy a car, register & insure it and pay for gas just to get to work.
We need to make sure that all parts of the city are walkable and/or bikeable. First, we need to improve the sidewalks, especially near our major retail areas on US 20 and Rt. 421. Then, we need to develop more protected bike lanes and paths. Walking and biking improve the health our residents and the quality of life for all. Clean water in trail Creek and Lake Michigan give many opportunities for outdoor recreation.
The Singing Sands Trail will be a tremendous city asset!
There is a current skills mismatch between those seeking work and job openings. We need to continue working with the Michigan City Schools’ Career Tech Center, Ivy Tech, Purdue, local unions and businesses to make sure our graduates have the necessary skills for jobs that pay livable wages.
Although we have many vacant homes in Michigan City, we lack safe, affordable housing. That seems a contradiction, I know, but what we lack is the right type of housing; townhouses and apartments where you can walk to stores and restaurants, small homes for young families in ready-to-move-in condition. We also need to make sure our older housing stock is in good repair. I will work to find creative ways to find builder and developer incentives and I will support innovative mortgage programs to help more people become homeowners. Families who own homes create neighborhood stability by staying longer and caring for their property; neighborhood stability increases property values.