Differing views offered on Marquette
By Tim Zorn
Post-Tribune (NW Indiana)
Published November 18th, 2004
HAMMOND The proposed Marquette Greenway plan for
re-making Northwest Indianas Lake Michigan shoreline
B. long overdue
C. part of a scheme to drive homeowners away by making
their properties unaffordable
Anyone attending the proposed plans final public
meeting Wednesday could hear all those viewpoints.
The Marquette Greenway plan, proposed a year ago by U.S.
Rep. Pete Visclosky D-Merrillville, was developed since
early May by planners who gathered information from citizens,
environmentalists and public officials.
Its driving principle, lead planner Gregg Calpino said,
is that the waterfront is a place for people.
If all of the plans recommendations were carried
out, Calpino said, more than 80 percent of the Lake Michigan
shoreline from the Illinois border to Burns Waterway would
be open to the public; now, only 33 percent of that 21-mile
stretch, dominated by industries, is open. The plan also
would create more than 2,000 acres of new parks, mostly
out of now-unused industrial land.
Short- and long-term proposals were outlined on more
than a dozen maps displayed on seven large easels at the
rear of the Purdue University Calumet meeting room, filled
with more than 100 people.
Some people welcomed the proposals.
Now is the first time in 100 years this lakefront
can be redeveloped for people instead of industry,
East Chicago resident Paul Myers said.
But many particularly residents of Garys
Miller area were suspicious that the plan was part
of a plot to take over their area.
Quit talking to us as if were stupid,
Sharon Russell said, as she contended that pricing
people out of their community would be one of the
plans redevelopment tactics.
Megan Cecil, also from Miller, said she likes the concept
of developing new recreation opportunities. But, she said,
our public officials have created such distrust,
its hard for us to accept this.
The planners insist the Marquette Greenway plans
redevelopment strategies are aimed at the regions
industrial land, not residential property.
And without new commercial and industrial development,
economic development planner Matthew Reardon said, homeowners
will shoulder even more of the tax burden than now.
Hobart resident Sandy OBrien liked the plan, which
she called visionary, but asked how it will be implemented.
The five cities that participated in the plan
Hammond, Whiting, East Chicago, Gary and Portage
can adopt elements of it in their own communitys
plans, Calpino said.
The planners also proposed that the Lake Michigan Shoreline
Development Commission, created by state legislators in
2001 but never funded, be empowered to oversee the plans