http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake ... 33a99.htmlSouth Shore stop at I-65 still alive
A plan first unveiled in 2007 to build a South Shore commuter rail station and retail development at Interstate 65 is again a live topic at Gary City Hall and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District.
"Once again it's on the table," NICTD general manager Gerald Hanas told the railroad's board of trustees Friday. "We are taking a hard look at it and believe it would result in a superior facility, not only for riders from Gary, but for those from other parts of the county as well."
Hanas said he continues to discuss the project with Mayor Rudy Clay and Gateway Development Partners LLC, the development group that originally proposed the multimillion-dollar project.
The original station project at I-65 was controversial because it would have meant the Metro Center stop and Miller stop would be shut down. Gateway Partners has said its project would not be economically feasible if those stops stay open.
A substitute proposal by Gateway Partners to build a transit-oriented development at the site of the Metro Center also was controversial because it would only be feasible with the closure of the Miller stop.
Contacted after the NICTD board of trustees meeting Friday, Clay confirmed he has had discussions with both Gateway Partners and NICTD about the proposed I-65 South Shore station. But he said Gateway Partners must still overcome myriad hurdles before it can come forward with a live proposal.
"The problem is they don't own the land, they don't have the money, and I don't know if the NICTD board is on board," Clay said. "So there are a lot of ifs there."
Clay said he signed a letter in October that stated if Gateway Partners could get all the above done in six months, he would be on board with the project.
The Lake County Council in October voted to grant Gateway Partners tax-exempt bonding authority that could help it raise some of the money it would need for the project, which at one time had a $56 million price tag.
Contacted Friday, Gateway Partners principal partner Mark Titus said his development group definitely remains interested in the project, which has been scaled back from its original proposal. In addition to a South Shore station, the I-65 development would include a parking garage and retail development.
"We are waiting for NICTD to confirm what direction they want us to go in," he said.
Miller resident Jim Nowacki, in the public comment portion of Friday's NICTD board of trustees meeting at the Dune Park station, called the whole idea a "terrible decision by the Mayor and NICTD to close down those hardworking stations."
NICTD board members said no decision of any type has been made yet and that nothing will be done without a public hearing.
In July 2008, Clay delivered an impassioned plea in support of Gateway Partners' proposed Metro Center project before more than 300 people who crowded into Christ Baptist Church in Miller. After he spoke, people stood 20 deep at the microphones for more than two hours to voice their opposition to the project, mainly because it meant the Miller stop would be closed.
Two months later, the NICTD board of trustees unanimously voted no on closing the Miller stop, which effectively sunk plans for the new Metro Center development.
Hammond can't afford to pave a fire station and mayor Clay apparently wants to build a new train station that's not needed? Sounds a bit fishy to me.
Wasn't there some developers who wanted to incorporate a town around there not very long ago?