The Grass is Greener marketing logo from the website. 
Provided image
The Grass is Greener marketing logo from the website. Provided image
Munster, Whiting and St. John have joined the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority's Move to Indiana campaign, which prods Illinois residents to move to Northwest Indiana through targeted digital ads.

The SSCVA rolled out the Grass is Greener campaign and the website last year as part of an ongoing effort to stanch Northwest Indiana's population loss by selling it as a bedroom community to Chicago, a Region-wide initiative that includes the South Shore Line extension.

The marketing effort seeks to draw young married couples and empty-nesters from the Illinois side of Chicagoland to Northwest Indiana, touting lower taxes, cheaper cost of living, good schools and amenities like Lake Michigan beaches that contribute to a high quality of life.

The Times Media Co., Centier Bank, Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, NIPSCO, Schilling Development, Schillings, Alsip Home and Nursery, Purdue University Northwest, First Financial Bank, city of Hobart and other mostly private sector entities have backed the campaign.

"We were impressed by the efforts to encourage residents of Illinois to move to Indiana," Munster Clerk-Treasurer Dave Shafer said. "It took a very positive approach."

At least 50 Illinois families moved to Munster this summer and the migration is ongoing.

"We also see Chicago and Cook County residents come to buy gasoline and cigarettes because it's cheaper," he said.

Munster contributed $10,000 to the marketing campaign, partly from the innkeepers' tax and partly from privately raised funds.

"Come on over to Indiana, we have a lot of assets," Shafer said. "We think we are attractive to new residents."

Whiting originally looked at the Move to Indiana campaign and passed because of its tight housing market for single-family homes.

"We don't have a lot of housing inventory," Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura said. "We have maybe two houses for sale. It's a difficult market."

But Whiting has many new apartment buildings going up, including a 32-unit building on 119th Street that will be partly leased out by Calumet College of St. Joseph. That will be followed by a 60-unit apartment and two or three more buildings. So the lakefront city is chipping in about $1,800 to the campaign.

"The cost of living is low just across the border," Stahura said. "And you're still 20 minutes from downtown Chicago."
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