Workers begin dismantling the historic facade of the South Shore station in downtown Michigan City. The facade will be incorporated into the new train station to be built on that site. Staff photo by Doug Ross
Workers begin dismantling the historic facade of the South Shore station in downtown Michigan City. The facade will be incorporated into the new train station to be built on that site. Staff photo by Doug Ross
MICHIGAN CITY — The city’s Redevelopment Commission is planning to spend up to $2.2 million to make projects done for the South Shore Line Double Track NWI project more aesthetically pleasing.

“It’s the way the federal government works,” Planning Director Skyler York said. “If you want something to look better, you have to pay for it, because they’re going to use the base design.”

The “betterments,” as they’re called, are meant to maintain the downtown’s character instead of introducing plain designs.

“Chain link fences and the like is not what we wanted,” commission attorney Alan Sirinek said.

Among the upgrades are special paving treatments at a string of intersections, a stain finish on a concrete traffic barrier and ornamental railing on that barrier, York said.

The upgrades are listed as alternatives in the bids the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District and the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority sought for the massive project intended to speed travel between Michigan City and Chicago, putting the two cities within easy commuting distance.

“We have committed to provide an additional sum of money to make those improvements look better,” York said.

The upgrades are meant to make the downtown more attractive to developers.

“It will be stamped to look like bricks, and it will be stained to look like bricks,” York said.

Near the train station, the concrete barrier will be replaced in favor of fencing.

“The expansion of the Double Track project is an economic development tool that supports the entire city, which is how this is justified,” York said. The city’s bus and transit routes will connect to the train station.

“We want it to be attractive and be a place that people want to be and want to invest,” York said.

The commission also agreed to York’s plan for help with reviewing requests for proposals for a mixed-use structure built by a private developer, incorporating a parking garage, as part of the train station. “We really need to kind of vet that through some various people,” York said.

A selection committee will make a recommendation to the Redevelopment Commission on which the developer should be invited to offer a presentation to the commission.

People from various walks of life are included on the committee. Among them are interior designer Rose Tejeda; Purdue Professor Emeritus Matt Kubik, who taught numerous courses in urban design and architecture; Park Board President Phil Latchford; Redevelopment Commission President Chris Chatfield; Councilman Bryant Dabney; commission Vice President John Hendricks; Mayor Duane Parry and York.
© Copyright 2022, nwitimes.com, Munster, IN