Environmental Justice Resource Center
Sustainable Development Conference
"What's Right with the Region"
Sustainable Coastal Development for Southern Lake Michigan
Brownfield Cleanup and Development
Government Marketing Assistance Group
In October 1997, the Indiana Unversity Northwest, Department of Minority Studies, received a $271,000 grant from EPA to develop an Environmental Justice Resource Center. Earl Jones, Director of the Department of Minority Studies told The Times, "the whole objective is to analyze the environmental social justice issues in Northwest Indiana."103 The project will help organize and educate community groups in Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond and will rsearch the environmental hazards in the area. Schools will also work with the center. The center is expected to be fully operational by the fall of 1998.104
In October 1997, a Sustainable Development Conference was held in Northwest Indiana. This was a day long event hosted by the Chicago Area Sigma Xi. Approxiamtely 90 people from various occupations attended the meeting at Marquette Park in Gary, Indiana. The conference looked at sustainable development from the point of view of "What is being done in Northwest Indiana?" Speakers ranged from the director of the Northwest Office for IDEM to the director of the National Lakeshore. Topics ranged from NIPSCO's active environmental programs to the future of our national parks in the 21st century. From a global perspective, a speaker from USAID spoke on ecotourism.
The Northwest Indiana Forum and WJOB-AM (1230) in Hammond have combined for a radio program entitled "What's Right with the Region." The program is co-hosted by John Davies, Vice President of Marketing for the Forum, and radio personality Thurm Free in the evenings.
"We want to discuss discovery, achievement, and progress," according to Davies. The radio program is "the product of all the hard work of our chambers and local economic development organizations, our civic an business leadership and a regional spirit of cooperation in our communities."
The concept was developed by Tom McDermott, President of the Northwest Indiana Forum, and much of the focus is on economic recovery in Northwest Indiana. A cited example of economic recovery is the reduction in the unemployment rate in Northwest Indiana in the last 15 years from 17% to 6%.105 Citizen contributions to "What's Right in the Region" are sought by Thomas McDermott, Northwest Indiana Forum, 6100 Southport Road, Portage, IN 46383.106
In September 1996, the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant operating through Purdue University and the University of Illinois conducted a workshop in Chicago addressed to "Sustainable Coastal Development for Southern Lake Michigan." A large measure of the mission of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is directed to education and outreach. Three original papers were addressed to the challenges and opportunities provided by sustainable economic development along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Illinois and Indiana.107
An electronic mailing list for brownfield news is available through the EPA. Directions on how to add your name to the list server can be found on the Internet at the following address: http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/listserv.htm
Coastal Economic Development Opportunities108 considered sustainable economic development in the Lake Calumet region on the southeast side of Chicago. The Lake Calumet area was "once the heart of Chicago's steel making industry," but the closure of Wisconsin Steel in 1970, the South Works plant of United States Steel in 1990, and other plants led to the loss of 187,000 jobs in the area. Today the area is characterized by a diverse multi-ethnic population, abandoned industrial brownfields, land fills, the Port of Chicago, the Calumet River, and fragile ecological resources. The paper describes the "Lake Calumet Economic Ecosystem Initiative" which is proposed in five phases: (1) project mobilization; (2) background data inventory; (3) planning product of forum; (4) sustainable development demonstration projects; and, (5) final report and agenda for future action. "Each phase of activities builds sequentially upon an iterative learning process." The initiative will be lead by the Department of the Environment of the City of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Bi-State Coordination and Competition on the Southern Shore of Lake Michigan109 reviewed infrequent and mostly unsuccessful efforts by Illinois and Indiana to cooperatively pursue economic development. "The only formal arrangement to promote over all coordination in planning was the short-lived Illinois/Indiana Bi-state Commission." Although formed by state legislation, the Commission was a product of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. When funding was cut during the Reagan administration, the dissolution of the Commission soon followed. Recent efforts at cooperation were also reviewed, including the Crescent Corridor put forth by the Minneapolis-based not-for-profit agency, City Innovation. Both Chicago and cities in Northwest Indiana were noted to be working on brownfield redevelopment projects, and the "Northwest Indiana Brownfield Redevelopment Project participated in the 1995 Chicago Brownfields Forum," but currently the two states were described as "proceeding independently." Reference was, however, made to successful efforts to coordinate transportation initiatives.
The Lake Michigan Shore in Illinois and Indiana: Its Historic and Current Role in Sustainable Development110 chronicled the usage of the Lake Michigan shoreline in the context of urban development in Chicago, its northern and southern suburbs, and Northwest Indiana. An emphasis was placed upon the protection of natural areas within federal, state, and local parks. Conflicts were outlined among private residential, industrial, and public recreational usage of the shorelines.
COMING CLEAN FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT111 was prepared with an award from the Economic Development Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The publication is a resource book on environmental cleanup and outlines economic development opportunities. The original publication occurred in 1995 and is available on the Internet.112 Other publications directed to brownfield cleanup and development are also previewed by the Northeast-Midwest Institute.113
The Government Marketing Assistance Group of the Indiana Small Business Development Corporation regularly sponsors or participates in conferences. Subjects cover a range of considerations "from the basics of federal marketing to progressive subjects such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, and ISO 9000 Quality Standards."
This Group "also presents workshops that are industry specific." The design is to provide "detailed insight into the contracting procedures for a single type of business. Machine shops, A/E (design and engineering services), and subcontracting to large corporations are examples of training for specific segments of industry."
A recent example of a conference with a broader scope was The Money Conference. Described as "a comprehensive, one-day educational and networking event focused entirely on the money-raising needs of small business," the conference was held in Indianapolis in early September. Featured workshops discussed money sources, offered advice on preparing and presenting funding requests, and provided insights concerning how lenders and investors evaluate proposals. Participants included commercial banks, leasing, finance, factoring, and equity firms.114