Chicago Fed President Charles Evans recently delivered the keynote address at the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce 8th Annual Business Expo and Luncheon in Hammond, Indiana. The audience included more than 300 local chamber members, mayors of several Northwest Indiana cities, businessmen, academics and local residents. President Evans and several of the Fed’s senior staff also toured projects that represent significant investments – both public and private – in Northwest, Indiana.
The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA) started the day showcasing a number of projects along the Lake Michigan shoreline, including the Wolf Lake project in Whiting, Indiana. These projects, along with the runway expansion project at the Gary Airport, will leverage a $250 million grant from the State of Indiana to support more than $650 million in investments projects that will help revitalize Northwest Indiana communities.
Chicago Fed staff also toured local industrial facilities, including the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana; and the ArcelorMittal steel mill in East Chicago, Indiana. BP’s management provided a tour of its facility, highlighting the $5 billion, seven-year refinery modernization project. The project represents the largest single private investment ever made in Indiana, creating thousands of jobs during construction and has significant implications for the national, regional and local economies.
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©2012 Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce, photo by: Armando Gomez
The group also toured ArcelorMittal’s steel mill in East Chicago, Indiana (formerly known as Inland Steel). In addition to the dramatic visual experience of the steelmaking process, the group heard from the company’s managers and employees about the workforce trends, innovation in the industry, and the challenges and opportunities of continuing to produce steel in the Midwest.
The day’s activities were arranged by the Chicago Fed’s Community Development and Policy Studies division as part of their mission to understand and promote community and economic development throughout the 7thFederal Reserve District.