La PORTE — The Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual State of the City event at the La Porte Civic Auditorium on Friday.

The chamber took the opportunity to inform community members about its new partnership with the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corp. The two entities paired up to form a new alliance “designed to grow La Porte’s competitive advantage” by providing a one-stop-shop for all things business.

Executive Director, Bert Cook elaborated at the podium, “Over the past few months GLEDC and the Chamber have been working together to craft a partnership between these two organizations. The organizations then united to form one expert staff that will serve as the single location for all of La Porte’s business services resources.”

The formal alliance between the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce and the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corp. can now be referred to as the Greater la Porte Economic Advancement Partnership. “We have assembled an excellent group of individuals to staff our new partnership,” Cook assured.

The Chamber’s State of the City event was largely sponsored by La Porte Hospital. CEO Ashley Dickinson was brought to the stage to share her excitement about economic advancements the hospital has brought to the city. “The health of the city is very important to me and to La Porte Hospital, and by health I don’t just mean the wellness and physical health of the city of La Porte, but also the economic health of our city. We have been focused on growth at La Porte Hospital. Over the past year, we have recruited 21 new positions and advanced clinical providers to La Porte and nearby communities. I consider this to be a success and a testament to our entire community.”

Dickinson also spoke of future advancements the hospital is facilitating.

“Over the next couple of weeks we will be awarding over $50 million in contracts to area sub-contractors," she said. "We anticipate these contracts will create a total of over 300 new constructions jobs. I’m expecting over a total of one thousand individuals to be on our site during the project, all spending money in our businesses.

Mayor Krentz also took to the podium to recap the city’s economic activity over the past year. He started with public transportation.

"The Transit Triangle service from La Porte to Michigan City to PNW has been improved and prices reduced," he said. "They have significantly reduced their NIPSCO bills by replacing their lights with LEDs.”

The mayor went to congratulate the Parks Department on their work last year.

“The Parks and Recreation Department has been very successful," he said. "They were rewarded nine Healthcare Foundation of La Porte Grants last year. Other projects that were completed with funding from La Porte Park Foundation, Urban Enterprise Association and La Porte Seamless Charity included play structures at Stone Lake, Lindenwald Park and Hastings Park.”

Krentz gave some insight into some of this year’s scheduled city improvements.

“Looking forward to this year there will be improvements including the 50/50 sidewalk program, CDBG sidewalk improvements and ADA sidewalk improvements, as well,” he said.

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