Connected NWI
NWI’s people have accessible, safe, and equal
opportunities for working, playing, living and learning.
For more information and resources in regard to COVID-19, please visit the

Veteran Trail Opening in Town of Hebron

In 1995 the Indiana General Assembly designated a 15-mile segment of U.S. 231 from U.S. 41 in St. John east to State Road 2 in Hebron as the Veterans Memorial Parkway . This effort was spearheaded by American Legion Post 261 in Cedar Lake, which helped establish the first United States memorial to our Vietnam Veterans at Stoney Run Park .

Running along the north side of U.S. 231 from Crown Point to Hebron is an abandoned railroad which is planned to be turned into the Veterans Memorial Trail . In 1999, a federal grant was secured by the Lake County Parks Dept. to construct the facility, but it was discovered how challenging this would turn out to be when over 130 landowner interests were identified in the nine-mile corridor. Hence the delay in development for the last 20+ years.

However, movement on the trail is finally proceeding, with the Town of Hebron ready to open the first mile of the Vet Trail this year. Lake County Parks has also experienced success with land acquisition of the corridor nearly complete within Crown Point.  

The Hebron section was awarded a Next Level Trails grant from the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources last year. Since this is state funding, not federal, the phases of development are able to move more rapidly due to fewer regulations involved. The town is aiming to host a ribbon cutting for their segment of the Vet Trail on June 6th for National Trails Day
NIRPC Awarded Outstanding Transportation Plan for NWI 2050
NIRPC was awarded the Outstanding Transportation Plan Award for  NWI 2050 by the American Planning Association Indiana Chapter for their 2020 Hoosier Planning Awards.
NWI 2050 was built on the successes of the award-winning  2040 Plan, which was the first comprehensive regional plan for the three-county region.  NWI 2050 takes a bold approach by planning at the center of the linkages between transportation, the environment, and economic development.

Economy and Place
Economic Advantages of Walkability

Development in walkable neighborhoods, especially with transit access, benefits real estate developers and investors by increasing sales and price premiums. Walkable places provide prospective benefits to businesses because of the increase of economic activity.

Walkability benefits local governments by providing higher property values that result in higher tax revenue. The right mix of land uses that are close together, public open space, and pedestrian infrastructure contribute to the economic value of the neighborhood.

Factors affecting walkability include, but are not limited to:

  • Street connectivity
  • Land use mix
  • Residential density (residential units per area of residential use)
  • Presence of trees and vegetation
  • Frequency and variety of buildings
  • Entrances and other sensations along street frontages
  • Transparency, which includes amount of glass in windows and doors, orientation and proximity of homes, and buildings to watch over the street
  • Plenty of places to go to near the majority of homes
  • Place-making, such as street designs that work for people, not just cars
  • Retail floor area ratio
Hoosier Health & Climate Change

According to the May newsletter of the Purdue University Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment, “over the coming decades, higher temperatures, more extreme weather events and reduced air quality due to climate change in Indiana will pose significant health risks for all Hoosiers – and especially children, the elderly, people with chronic health conditions and low-income families.”

Many of these groups have also been at high risk for COVID-19. 

Click   here   for the full report, "Hoosiers’ Health in a Changing Climate: A Report from the Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment." 
FY 2020 & FY 2021 Funding

As the pandemic moves into the month of June and the beginning of summer there is still much uncertainty. The region does not yet know what “normal” will look like after this season passes.

As a follow-up to a last newsletter's article highlighting LTAP's gas tax revenue projections; federally funded projects are still moving forward.

INDOT has seen a drop of ADT on their roads of up to 42%. How this equates to income from the gas tax is uncertain, but it is expected to decrease by a similar percentage amount.

The gas tax and other tax revenues are unknown; many counties and municipalities are wondering what their budgets will look like later this year and next.

While NIRPC has been digging into this, we can say that at this time, the federal funds that have been obligated to the region will remain for fiscal year 2021.

Currently, we will be able to meet all of the obligations for infrastructure projects.

As we work through these unprecedented times, we can be assured that projects will continue to forward.
NIRPC has designed and implemented an interactive  COVID-19  dashboard onto its website, which you can find  here.  Track and observe how  COVID-19  is impacting communities across Northwest Indiana.
Meetings are subject to change due to COVID-19 Protocol.
The Technical Planning Committee meeting for June has been cancelled.
Technical Planning Committee Meeting
  • July 7th
  • 10:00 AM
  • Lake Michigan Room, 6100 Southport Road Portage, IN 46368
  • Link for more information
  • Questions? Contact Candice Eklund at 219-254-2501
  • Can’t make it in person? Watch it on YouTube
Plan for Beyond the Panel: A Solar and Land Use Seminar
  • July 30th
  • 8:30 AM - 2:00 PM EST
  • Ancilla Domini College, 9601 Union Road, Plymouth, Indiana 46563
  • Link to more info
NIRPC Commission/Executive Board Meeting
  • July 16th
  • 9:00 AM
  • Lake Michigan Room, 6100 Southport Road Portage, IN 46368
  • Link for more information
  • Questions? Contact Candice Eklund at 219-254-2501
  • Can’t make it in person? Watch it on YouTube
Follow Us On Social Media!