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Everything you need in downtown Hammond

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The streets of Hammond are full of residents and visitors enjoying what downtown can offer.

The streets of Hammond are full of residents and visitors enjoying what downtown can offer.

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File Photo

The streets of Hammond are full of residents and visitors enjoying what downtown can offer.

Zachary Araki, A&E Editor

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By offering a place to eat, shop, live, work or hang out, Hammond became one of 10 semifinalists selected by Main Street America for the Great American Main Street Award.

Chelsea Tallo, executive director of the Hammond Downtown Development District, expressed pride in her team for the recognition.

“It’s a lot of hard work that goes into even being considered one of the top 10,” said Tallo. “Other main street directors for Hammond have done it in the past, and I think we’ve gotten some recognition in the past. But, this is the first time my DDD team has been recognized, so we’re real excited about it.”

According to the program’s website, Main Street America strives to “revitalize older and historic commercial districts to build vibrant neighborhoods and thriving economies.” The Great American Main Street Award is the program’s recognition of communities that excel in this mission.

Criteria for the Great American Main Street Award include commitment to historic preservation, active involvement of the public and private sector, model partnerships, being a Main Street America accredited program, demonstration of impact aligning with the Main Street Approach and overall strength of the Main Street program.

Tallo shared what makes Hammond’s main street deserving of the recognition.

“They focus on live, work, shop, play and visit,” said Tallo. “Hammond is just a big example of all those, but I think what set us apart was our mixed-use buildings. Right now, it’s trending in main street to have second story apartments, and a lot of communities don’t have that. A lot of communities still have a lot of vacant buildings, or they just have a business district whereas ours is mixed use.”

According to Tallo, DDD will start its master plan either at the end of the year or by the beginning of next year.

“All of my committees have goals,” said Tallo. “One of the goals was the farmers market pavilion, to keep Hammond beautiful, to add events, and this and that. The master plan is gonna analyze everything we’ve done in the past and where we are right now and figure out how we want to move forward and what we’re gonna do.”

Collectively, the 10 semifinalists generated nearly half a billion dollars in public and private reinvestment, created 6,984 new jobs, opened 655 new businesses, rehabbed 779 buildings and clocked over 273,000 volunteer hours.

“It’s a hard position to be put in to be honored like this,” said Tallo. “It was a lot of hard work, so we’re grateful it was recognized, but we want the community to understand this is a national recognition that is definitely going to impact our economic vitality downtown.”

Main Street America credited Hammond for having the longest-running Main Street America program and being the largest district of the semifinalists. 

“Downtown is your one-stop shop for everything,” said Tallo. “We’ve got your banks. We’ve got the post office. You have the police station if you’re ever in trouble here. We have 44 local restaurants, none of which are chains. You’ve got all your shops here, all your entertainment downtown. You can do everything you need to do in downtown Hammond.”

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