Calumet Redevelopment Plan
The overriding goal of this redevelopment plan is to facilitate and encourage public and private investment in the Calumet Neighborhood of East Chicago. The goal will result in the rebuilding of a vibrant, mixed use community. Reinvestment will be in the form of:
- Demolition of substandard structures
- Infrastructure improvements
- Neighborhood scale retail enterprises
- New public amenities and the creation of recreational opportunities
- Single and multi-family housing units
The result will be an environment conducive to attracting private investment on the path to creating a vital, attractive, and sound residential community in East Chicago.
The Calumet Redevelopment Plan is intended to establish, as a redevelopment district, the area bounded by:
- The railroad tracks north of Chicago Avenue (Northern Boundary)
- Huish Avenue (Eastern Boundary)
- East 151st Street (Southern Boundary)
- Private Street and the alley west of McCook Avenue (Western Boundary)
Reasons For Redevelopment
This designation is necessary for five primary reasons:
- The area’s proximity to East Chicago civic and commercial center increases its potential to attract new homeowners, if the barriers to developing new quality, affordable housing are removed.
- The city’s Comprehensive Plan calls for the reinforcement of the single family residential character that is predominate in the Calumet neighborhood by replacing many of the commercial structures that exist mid-block with single or multifamily housing, where appropriate.
- Improvements in the redevelopment district, along with reinvestment taking place on nearby sites, will act as stimuli for additional private reinvestment in the community.
- A significant amount of housing and commercial building stock in the Calumet Neighborhood is in poor condition and in need of demolition or substantial rehabilitation. In addition, the area includes numerous vacant lots, abandoned buildings, and residential units constructed in the rear yard of the lot (this is incompatible with the existing zoning ordinance) which negatively impact the entire community.
- A substantial grouping of commercial properties exists along Alexander Avenue. Many of the properties in this historic commercial strip are vacant, have abandoned structures resting on them, have been converted to residential uses (which is in violation of current zoning regulations), or are in poor condition. The future of this strip is need of review as well as the optimal location and the level of need for neighborhood commercial uses in the area.
This Redevelopment Plan will serve as a road map for reversing signs of blight and disinvestment in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago, enhancing the quality of life of the residents while encouraging additional private investment in the city.
Meetings for Planning
A key element in the development of this Redevelopment Plan was a series of community meetings designed to gain community input into the planning process and gauge reactions to recommended changes. A total of five community meetings were scheduled between August of 2002 and April of 2003. Calumet residents were informed of meeting dates and times through announcements and flyers distributed at the local churches and community centers. The meetings were held in the community room or gymnasium at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center located at the intersection of East 148th Street and Melville Avenue in the center of the Calumet Neighborhood.
Four of the five meetings were well attended. However the October 3rd was cancelled and rescheduled due to lack of attendance (a number of other large community functions had been scheduled at the same time)
Prior to the first meeting the planning team physically surveyed the community in an effort to record the current condition of the neighborhood including:
- Building Conditions
- Community Landmarks
- Public Spaces
In addition to this information, the planning team gathered photographs of key structures and features within the neighborhood. The knowledge gained from this data collection stage was utilized in preparation for the community meeting and in the development of this document.