Nearly 400 people gathered at Dynasty Banquet Center in Hammond on Wednesday to join the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and Hammond’s Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. for a membership luncheon and State of the City address.
The address, filled with information, insight, and a touch of humor, was broadcast live on Go Hammond TV, and featured bits of information from notable members of the crowd. Focused around Hammond’s growth, challenges, and future endeavors, Mayor McDermott provided those in attendance with a wealth of information and inspiration for the future.
“I think that Hammond is reasserting itself in Lake County and the State of Indiana,” said McDermott. “It really is an honor as mayor to see projects from beginning to end, so thank you Hammond for the opportunity.”
Taking a fresh approach to the State of the City Address, Mayor McDermott fielded questions from Lakeshore Chamber Executive Director Dave Ryan. Questions ranged from updates on the school city and Hammond’s relationship, to future developments and the challenges approaching in the coming years.
Throughout the address, members of the crowd, such as Purdue University Northwest Chancellor, Thomas L. Keon, were asked to provide input for notable projects involving their organizations. Chancellor Keon was able to address a new building on the PNW campus, one that holds a high level of excitement and promise for the future of the city.
“We have a new building that will be starting this summer which will house biology and nursing,” explained Keon. “It’s about a $40 million project.”
The college wasn’t the only school addressed during the update, though, and the School City of Hammond was brought up as well due to the recent passing of a referendum. Mayor McDermott celebrated the referendum’s passing, citing it as just one way the city is proving they care about education.
“We’re proud that we value education,” began McDermott. “You can’t be a great mayor if your schools are struggling, and you can’t be a great mayor if you’re fighting with the school city.”
As the meeting continued, various updates regarding the SportsPlex, West Lake Corridor, and more were addressed. Congressman Pete Visclosky’s Head of Staff, Mark Lopez, was even able to answer some questions regarding the West Lake Corridor proposal for expanding the South Shore Line. While responses were not definitive, he assured the crowd that the application was received and in good hands.
To finish out the address, Mayor McDermott along with Africa Tarver, Anne Anderson, and Sue Anderson, revealed a special project: a painting by Mark Anderson, local artist, which is the first in a series to be created by local artists. Sue Anderson, Program Director for the Hammond Development Corporation, explained the project.
“We now have an artist circle made up of 17 local artists. This is the first painting in a series of original paintings that are about Hammond as a whole,” explained Anderson. “We’re hoping to do 12 this year and have a calendar at the end of the year.”
As guests of the luncheon left, they were provided a poster of the painting. The luncheon was a successful and interesting update to the city of Hammond. With a new format of questions and answers, punctuated by Mayor McDermott’s wit and humor, the luncheon served as an informative and interesting update on the State of Hammond.
Hammond, IN 46320
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