By David Denson, Gary Crusader
State Representative Pete Visclosky says that in order for the Northwest Indiana region to grow and develop there needs to be transformation investment.
The veteran legislator was the guest speaker at the Gary Chamber of Commerce Monday, February 8 at the Majestic Star Event Center where he applauded much of the region’s achievement but cautioned that more need to be done.
“We have to make transformation investments. We are past the tipping point of the decline of the economy and jobs we’ve seen in Northwest Indiana,” said Visclosky.
Visclosky noted that Lake County has lost 10 percent of its population since 1970 despite the fact that the nation has grown by 52 percent. During this time, the median household income in Lake County has declined to nearly 20 percent.
“We have to make transformational investments just like John Rockefeller and J. P. Morgan made in this region over 100 years ago, and you are seeing the success in those investment.,” said Visclosky. “I am happy so happy to remind everyone in this room that the runway extension at the Gary Airport is not under construction. It is not under negotiation, is not under consideration. It is done,” he said.
Another areas where Visclosky sees the need for transformative investment is the lakefront. “Everybody no mater what your station in life is, you should be able to get to the largest freshwater body on earth and not have to pay someone for it,” Visclosky said.
He sees the efforts that have been made to the Northwest Indiana Lake Front development as a move towards growth in the region. He said the efforts extends along the whole region from the city of Whiting, through Gary down to Portage.
The improvement of Gary’s regional transportation system is being viewed as an example for how the city is making an investment in the region. Currently Gary, provides bus service to seven surrounding communities throughout Northwest Indiana.
Other projects and initiatives’ underway in Gary are also being applauded by Visclosky are the construction of the Arts & Science building at Indiana University Northwest and the number of grants that the city has received from the federal government to aid in downtown redevelopment.
Along with his plan to expand the South Shore rail service, Visclosky also supports Gary’s plan to construct a new South Shore rail station in the Miller section of the city.