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RDA approves grant for demolition of old Amoco lab

Updated: August 25, 2013 6:25AM



The Regional Development Authority approved a $200,000 matching grant to enable Hammond to demolish a building to make way for dormitories for Calumet College of St. Joseph and other housing options.

The grant, which was approved at the RDA’s Tuesday meeting, will add to $800,000 in matching funds provided by Hammond. The vacant structure was formerly the Amoco Oil Company Research and Development Laboratory, and it is located in the 2500 block of New York Avenue.

“Both private developers and Calumet College of St. Joseph have expressed interest in building housing and dormitories in this area if vacant buildings are removed,” said RDA President and CEO Bill Hanna. “With this award we have an opportunity to stay within our role as a catalyst but also support secondary education and the economic benefits commensurate with a strong and diverse regional college and university system.”

RDA Chief Operating Officer Sherri Ziller said the grant comes out of the RDA’s Challenge Grant program. Previous recipients include Gary and the Town of Pines.

The RDA also accepted an application from East Chicago for a $39 million project that would create a public-private partnership to spur economic development in the North Harbor neighborhood. Ziller said the shoreline working group will examine the application, tighten some aspects, and will put it up for a vote at a future meeting.

Ziller said the application is linked to the $60.3 million East Chicago Shoreline Gateway project, which is building a vehicle/pedestrian bridge over Cline Avenue to connect Indiana Harbor’s Main Street area with the lakefront. The area to the east of Jeorse Park is also being developed as a new beach. Ziller said the project is about 29 percent complete at this point.

“This application takes in the whole area — from Cline Avenue to the marina and the lakefront — and it really sets the stage for economic development,” Ziller said.



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