Dozens of city residents filled the Michigan City Senior Center today to hear Mayor Ron Meer’s state of the city address, where he proudly highlighted many of the city’s most recent successes, and outlined some plans for future growth.
“One of my earliest realizations after I took office in 2012 was that there was no off-season in this position. It’s a 24/7, 365 day-a-year job,” Meer said. He is seeking a third mayoral term.
Meer acknowledged and thanked the municipal employees for their hard work and dedication to the community.
“We’ve expanded our school resource officer program, adding officers who visit not just the high school, but the middle schools as well,” Meer said. “We also have great collaboration with other police departments at all levels -local, state and federal. Those partnerships are crucial to our community and help us to better fight crime in our neighborhoods.”
Some key points of the mayor’s address were:
- the city’s investment in a $5 million Karwick Center and Cheney Run restoration project
- securing a Brownfield grant from the EPA to clean up contaminated properties throughout the city and promote economic redevelopment
- a $5 million grant to lead remediation and details for an upcoming $10 million expansion to the Michigan City Municipal Airport. The expansion will allow larger aircraft to use the airport and is expected to benefit logistics and transportation in the area.
Other achievements included a $700,000 Skill Up grant from the State of Indiana to provide job training for the many available skilled job openings in the area, and a recent upgrade to the Michigan City Fire Department rating from the Insurance Services Office, which could directly and positively affect insurance rates paid by home and business owners.
These points illustrated how the city has focused on leveraging state and federal grant funds totaling $9,580,000 - a return on tax dollars paid by residents, and a citywide increase of property values.
The mayor thanked zoo and park employees, and brought to light the many projects that have beautified the city and enhanced the quality of life for its 31,000 residents, from youth programs to modernized lighting and signage, to making sidewalks in the community more ADA-compliant.
Meer spoke about the Indiana Dunes recently being designated the state’s first national park. “This is so important to Michigan City. This is our opportunity to become a gateway to a national park and we’ve already hit the ground running,” Meer said, predicting roughly $20 to $30 million in economic value to the community. “I am proud of what we have accomplished, and I am excited about the forward direction in which Michigan City will continue to move,” Meer said.
Following his address, Meer fielded questions about everything from the proposed double-tracking of the South Shore rail line project (currently awaiting final approval on the federal level), to future plans for the redevelopment of the downtown area and the Michigan City plaza project, and extending utilities to areas south of the I-94 interchange.
Mary Ann Worek, a long-time resident of the city, recently returned from living in Las Vegas and was impressed with the progress made in the area.
“I think it’s great,” Worek said. “The mayor is doing a great job!”
Tara Miller, director of Michigan City Senior Center showed her unabashed enthusiasm for the city that she calls home.
“I love the projects that are on the docket as far as infrastructure, park improvements, and more,” Miller said. “He (Meer) just makes things happen. He’s got a lot of great insight, a lot of great ideas and he puts in a lot of hard work.” “I’m very happy with the direction the city is going,” Miller said.
For more information, visit the official website for Michigan City, Indiana athttp://www.emichigancity.com/.