Restoring Indiana's Industrial Wastelands

The effort to transform the Rust Belt into the Blue Belt got a $400,000 boost in Indiana yesterday, as state finance directors approved funding to accelerate the conversion of old industrial sites into parks and recreation trails.

The limited funding is dwarfed by the monumental challenge of cleaning up after the Industrial Era, particularly Big Steel along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. But it's yet another sign of the growing awareness in Indiana that generating jobs, attracting new residents, growing modern businesses, and boosting competitiveness depends more and more on the strength of the place's quality of life.

"Converting contaminated sites into trails not only provides additional recreation areas for Hoosiers but also makes Indiana more desirable to tourists and employers looking to relocate," State Public Finance Director Ryan Kitchell told the Northwest Indiana Times.