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RDA takes comments on proposed transit development districts

transit oriented development
nwitdd.com

A tool to help communities capitalize on Northwest Indiana's commuter rail projects is moving forward. The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority held the first of two public hearings Thursday on seven proposed transit development districts (TDDs) along the South Shore Line and West Lake Corridor.

They're kind of similar to TIF districts, but in this case, they capture the incremental growth in income and property tax revenue near train stations, so that money can be used on improvements in that district. The idea is to promote transit-oriented development, like homes and businesses within walking distance to the train.

Michigan City director of planning and redevelopment Skyler York said the districts ensure the viability of rail transit, but they're also a tool for future growth. "Right now, in Michigan City, we are already seeing the new development in our city, and I think it can be directly attributed to the double tracking project and not only that but the opportunities that the TDD will offer in our downtown and our expanded downtown, I would say," York said during Thursday's hearing.

The situation is similar in Hammond, according to chief of staff Phil Taillon. He noted that the city already has agreements for three new developments bringing around 350 residential units to Downtown Hammond, and conversations with three more developers are currently underway.

But some of the proposed transit development districts stretch far beyond the train stations they're designed to serve. East Chicago's extends north along Indianapolis Boulevard all the way to Columbus Drive, while a cross section includes most of Chicago Avenue from White Oak to Parrish.

The proposed transit development district for the future West Lake station at Main Street has an even stranger shape. It contains the undeveloped land near the station site but also has barely-contiguous pockets on Calumet Avenue around 45th and south of 213th.

Residents will have another chance to comment on July 14. The RDA Board of Directors will then vote on the plan, before it goes to the State Budget Committee for final approval.

MainStreetTransitDevelopmentDistrict.jpg
nwitdd.com
The proposed transit development district for the future West Lake station at Main Street contains the undeveloped land near the station site but also has barely-contiguous pockets on Calumet Avenue around 45th and south of 213th.