Recreating a Market: At Gary, In, officials tie the airport and economic development, with Chicago's help

By John F. Infanger, Editorial Director Recreating a Market At Gary , IN , officials tie the airport and economic development, with Chicago 's help GARY , IN — In June, officials here announced their first significant coup in the...


Karas says that the O'Hare redevelopment should have "no impact" on Gary 's long-term goal of becoming a player in air carrier service to the region. There is a natural market of some 1.5 million, he explains, and that is currently being serviced by Midway Airport . However, he says there is a market segment that is "tiring of the new, big Midway," and his airport is primarily targeting overflow. And, Midway has severe growth limitations.

Regarding Peotone, Karas says that it would cost three-quarters of a billion dollars to create what is already in place at Gary . He comments, "Build upon Gary first, then look at Peotone."

Gary officials have focused since 1995 on rebuilding the airport's infrastructure, and recently completed new roadway access to the terminal. Projects completed in 2002 include runway and airfield lighting rehabilitation; Phase II of an environmental impact statement; and an additional 75,000 square feet of concrete apron. A deal is underway to relocate the Army National Guard to a new $24.5 million, 26,000-sq.ft. facility to house five Blackhawk helicopters and a training center. API Flight School relocated to Gary/Chi-cago last year, and general aviation is already serviced by the Gary Jet Center , a full-service fixed base operation under a 40-year lease.

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