Forum brings awareness to 2040 plan
The Northwest Indiana Forum met with communities in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties to discuss economic development issues and bring awareness to the NIRPC 2040 Comprehensive Regional Plan.
Addressing the plan’s Steering Committee in a meeting Thursday, NWI Forum official Don Koliboski said mayors, economic development officials and planners for the 15 communities that include that sector of its government were interviewed. Their concerns included advanced technology, corridor development and implementation of shorter increments of the long-term strategy that is the 2040 plan.
Koliboski said the communities vary on what their priorities are and what they’d like to see in the plan. For example, he said, Whiting and East Chicago have marina development enhancement issues while Hobart and Crown Point have other concerns.
Commuter rail, meanwhile, was a concern in most of the communities.
Koliboski also said the communities would like to see NIRPC have a master framework where they could come to NIRPC as opposed to trying to contact their neighboring community.
“There were some concerns about some of the communities that they worded together in the past,” he said. “but something happened&mash;whether it’s a political issue or taxation issue or something very minor where the communication lines get cut off and they don’t have another party to go to.”
Koliboski said it’s important to bring awareness to the communities about the 2040 plan and getting them involved in public workshops so they could get their ideas and information involved in this process. Otherwise, he said they probably won’t be included in the overall end result of the plan.
“If they’re not on the bus they’re going to be left behind,” Koliboski said.