East Chicago City Council Approves Rezoning Ordinance for USS Lead Site

The East Chicago City Council approved an ordinance that officially rezones the former West Calumet housing complex from residential to a light industrial classification(M-1).  This action clears the path for Industrial Development Advantage(IDA) to purchase the property from the East Chicago Housing Authority.  IDA will take responsibility for the land, remediation and future development planned to be a state of the art distribution facility.  In addition to the Housing Authorities’ revenue from the sale price of 2.1 million dollars, the estimated 75 million dollar project will create 400 to 900 new full time jobs.  This is widely expected to be a catalyst to spur additional economic and new housing option activity.  3rd District Councilman Terry Hill publicly thanked all of his colleagues for supporting the measure and offered encouraging words to the future of his district.    Hill stated “This will benefit the entire city. Residents will be happy with our council!”.

UPS Signs Lease for Cargo Transfer at Gary Airport

The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority on Wednesday approved a long-term lease and easement access agreement with UPS that will allow the company to begin express air shipment operations later this year.

UPS expects to begin operations in advance of the holiday shopping season, with weeknight flights from Gary to the UPS hub in Louisville, and return flights the following morning. The flights will carry packages for UPS’s Next Day Air service.

Airport and city officials hailed Gary’s anticipated place in UPS’s air network as a “game changer.”

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EPA willing to amend West Calumet cleanup plan for distribution center development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has authorized a change to the remediation plan for the former West Calumet housing complex site in East Chicago in response to the city’s effort to transform the site into a logistics, distribution and warehouse campus.

The development firm Industrial Development Advantage is seeking zoning changes in anticipation of purchasing about 55 acres northwest of the intersection of McCook Avenue and East 151st Street for $2.15 million. An initial facility of at least 600,000 square feet would employ hundreds of workers, IDA executives said.

The site of the former U.S.S. lead refinery is contaminated with lead and arsenic; about 1,200 residents were evacuated from the EPA-designated Superfund site three years ago.

The EPA’s amendment of the cleanup plan depends on the rezoning of the land and a final commitment from IDA. The potential change would reduce the cleanup from what the EPA calls a residential standard — removal contaminated soil to a depth of 24 inches — to an industrial/commercial standard — removal of 12 inches. The former would cost about $28.8 million and take seven months, according to the EPA, while the latter has an estimated cost of $14.1 million and a duration of five months.

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East Chicago rising from shadows of West Calumet to promising future

EAST CHICAGO — West Calumet had recently become a symbol of things that were wrong with this steel city.

It was the site of the U.S.S. lead refinery depositing toxic chemicals into the land, water and air until environmental regulations forced its closure and a Superfund declaration said it should be cleaned up some day.

A public housing project was built over it. The children of its tenants played in soil dangerously contaminated with lead and arsenic.

Three years ago, 1,000 tenants were evacuated from the site.

There is a new enthusiasm about the site’s potential. Mayor Anthony Copeland wants to rise from the shadows of West Calumet.

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Remediation work underway on East Chicago site intended for massive logistics center

EAST CHICAGO — Tens of thousands of cubic yards of contaminated soil are being removed from a brownfield site on Kennedy Avenue, with plans to build a one million square-foot logistics center on it as soon as the work is done.

“Provided Mother Nature cooperates, we should be done with the remediation in late 2020,” said Scott Aschoff, principal at Impact Environmental, which is managing the work. The pad for the new building would then be ready by the spring of 2021, he said, and the building would be completed by the end of that year.

The partnership, in conjunction with DuPont and its subsidiary Chemours, first has to perform the Environmental Protection Agency-approved plan to clean the site of contaminants that include arsenic, lead, cadmium and zinc.

The $26.6 million environmental remediation of the former DuPont industrial site at 5215 Kennedy Ave. began in September with the clearing of trees, and will ultimately involve removal of about 60,000 cubic yards of soil, according to Aschoff, who is also co-owner and partner of East Chicago Gateway Partners, which will build the logistics center.

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Lake County Economic Alliance Celebrates Millions In Investment, Hundreds Of New Jobs At Economic Update

Investors, business leaders, and officials from across Lake County gathered at Briar Ridge Country Club for the Lake County Economic Alliance (LCEA) Networking & Economic Update Night on Wednesday. Guests discussed and celebrated all the recent developments around Lake County and the LCEA unveiled a massive new project for East Chicago.

Over the last five years, LCEA has played a critical role in fostering the growth of Northwest Indiana’s economy. From promoting new start-ups, helping the expansion of existing businesses, and even inviting new locations for national brands, LCEA’s services help provide stability and development across the county.

Karen Lauerman, president and CEO at LCEA, revealed the evening’s biggest piece of news: an investor is looking to transform 400 acres in East Chicago into a 1-million-square-foot building, with the potential for more than $100 million in investment and 1,000 new jobs. There is also potential for another two buildings on the site, each offering similar investment and job opportunities. Scott Aschoff, co-owner of East Chicago Gateway Partners, is leading the project which is located at the site of the former DuPont/Chemours plant.

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Lake County Economic Alliance celebrates millions in investment, hundreds of new jobs at economic update