Hopes that economic development in northwestern Indiana will attract new residents

(Photo supplied/Indiana Department of Workforce Development)

Northwest Indiana is now better able to attract people to live there, thanks to some economic development projects that include West Lake Corridor Expansion and the double tracking of the South Shore Rail Line, both of which are rail projects that make it easier for people to work in Chicago and live in Indiana.

“So, these aren’t just transportation projects, these are economic development projects,” said Heather Ennis, CEO of the Northwest Indiana Forum, talking to Inside Indiana Business. “There’s great opportunity for investment along those corridors…and to continue the growth.”

Ennis said the upgrades to rail transportation will make it easier for commuters, but that quality of life is also improving.

“The fiber and infrastructure opportunities that those create build the way for a great technology corridor, as well.”

She said cities like Valparaiso, Crown Point, Whiting and Hammond have been able to attract people to move from Illinois. She talked with a family that moved from Illinois, who enjoyed the lighter tax burden and the neighborhood.

“They moved from Neighborville and had relocated to Valparaiso and they said that during the pandemic in the first six months of living in northwest Indiana, they met more of their neighbors and made more friend than in the six years that they lived in Neighborville.”

Ennis said that areas like The Dunes, which is now a national park, also serve to attract people.

“We’ve got 42 miles of beautiful coast line here in northwest Indiana. So, it really showcases really well as a national park now,” she said. “People use that as a stamp in their passport of places they want to visit and so we’re really fortunate to be able to offer a national park experience in northwest Indiana.”

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