INDIANAPOLIS—On Tuesday, State Senator Eddie Melton’s (D-Gary) Senate Bill 434 to address blight and promote economic development in Lake County advanced out of the Senate with unanimous support. The bill, which would also allow for investment in the Gary Metro station, will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“I’m thankful to my colleagues for helping me get this priority piece of legislation out of the Senate this year. I’ve been working on this bill for over a year and I’m grateful to everyone who assisted in crafting this proposal. SB 434 will give the Gary and Northwest Indiana region critical tools to help grow our economy.
“The funding in my bill will provide vital resources to address blight in my district. There are currently 6,000 abandoned homes and 300 abandoned commercial properties in Gary, and addressing this blight is essential to promoting public safety and attracting economic opportunities. By coupling these efforts with the renovation of the Gary Metro Station, as we continue working on the Double Tracking Project, we can place Gary and Northwest Indiana in a very prosperous position.
“Although this bill was amended to allow other Lake County communities to submit a proposal for the placement of the convention center in their town, I’m confident the city of Gary will put forth the strongest proposal. With us having the leading revenue-generating casino in Indiana for the past two years, I strongly believe the best place for a convention center is in the footprint of the Hard Rock. That placement would help grow that area into an entertainment district that will benefit and grow the entire region. However, I will continue working with my Lake County colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure their communities have an opportunity to put forth proposals vying for this opportunity as well.
“My SB 434 supports the growth of our historic downtown area as well as economic development through Northwest Indiana, and I’m hopeful that my colleagues in the House will continue moving this bill forward. I will remain persistent in working to get it out of the Legislature and on the Governor’s desk this session.”