MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — Two northwestern Indiana cities are pushing rival
proposals for developing a new $400 million port that would become
Indiana's second shipping port on Lake Michigan.
East Chicago and Gary officials will go before a legislative committee
next month that is charged with studying the feasibility and economic
impact of the port projects.
East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland told The Times of Munster that his
city's proposal calls for a port on the east side of a peninsula that juts
from his city into Lake Michigan. It would be near many of ArcelorMittal's
The project has the support of the steelmaker, which provided valuable
advice as to its location and use, Copeland said. To eventually move
forward, he said, the port also would need the backing of the Ports of
"It would create jobs — respectable, good-paying jobs," Copeland said. "It
gives us an opportunity to work with residents and industry and, bar none,
this would be economic development at its highest."
Indiana's only Lake Michigan port is currently the Port of Indiana at
Supporters of creating a second port agree that no lakefront port project
of any size could be built without the support of the Ports of Indiana,
which also operates ports on the Ohio river.
Gary city officials are also expected to testify during a Sept. 12 hearing
before a legislative joint study committee about their proposal, which
calls for a port at Buffington Harbor.
State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, chairman of the Joint Study Committee
on Transportation and Infrastructure, promises to hold a fair hearing for
the two port projects. Only one of the proposed ports could be built given
the limited funding and shipping traffic that may be available.
His committee has invited Gary, East Chicago and representatives of
industry to present plans at the committee's hearing at the headquarters
of the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Soliday said.
Gary officials are expected to testify about a proposal for a port at
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson had a big hand in crafting the legislation
calling for the study committee to determine the feasibility of the second
port on Lake Michigan.
"The mayor has indicated that the City of Gary will be an active
participant on the State Study Commission for the port. Once that body has
met, she will be able to give more of an update," Freeman-Wilson's office
said in a statement Tuesday.