GARY, Ind. (AP) — Eight groups are interested in investing in the
Gary-Chicago International Airport, with two proposals focusing more on
logistics than passenger service and another recommending it become a home
for a green jobs training center.
They were among the responses to the airport's request for broad proposals
from investors who would be willing to pump at least $100 million into the
airport and the surrounding area. The airport has long sought to become
Chicago's "third airport," handling overflow from the city's two crowded
airports, but as yet has been unable to do so.
Allegiant Air announced in May it plans to stop service to Gary in August
because its flights to and from Florida haven't attracted enough
The Times of Munster reports the proposals include operating the airport,
providing financing for new infrastructure, creating a new Center for
Green Industry and Technology with the help of Ivy Tech Community College,
and moving the airport toward a more commercial or industrial business
Canada-based MXD Development Strategists, which has done planning for
airports in Denver and Memphis, pitched the idea of surrounding the area
with aviation-related firms or businesses that need to be near airports,
such as logistics companies that ship food or other refrigerated items.
The businesses also could benefit from nearby highways and railroad lines
and would also have access to freighters on Lake Michigan, the company
Chicago-based environmental engineering firm Greeley and Hansen proposed
green initiatives, public art and community outreach for the airport
district. The firm wants to partner with Ivy Tech Corporate College to
launch a research and training center that would provide job training to
local residents on emerging green technologies, sustainable airport
management and environmentally friendly infrastructure.
Members of an ad hoc committee that's working on a public-private
partnership at the airport said they were encouraged by the proposals.
"This is very heartening and energizing, to have something real and
concrete," committee member Carrie Hightman said.