Revitalization, restaurants, shops and festivals attract new residents to Hammond

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New Hammond residents Rick Soria and Scott Fech were drawn to the city because of its revitalization, restaurants, shops, festivals and proximity to Chicago.

Fech is principal at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Hyde Park.

“Hammond is a perfect location to commute to Hyde Park,” Soria says.

Soria is Campus President at the Michigan City campus of Tech Community College Northwest.

“Hammond is a great community,” Soria says. “We decided to move here for several reasons. Hammond is economically growing. The downtime area is sprouting with eateries and shops.”

Soria says he and Fech love the revitalization the city is experiencing.

“Hammond is going through some economic development that will put Hammond on the map as a destination spot,” Soria says. “We have access to great eateries like El Taco Real and to shops like Its Just Serendipity.”

The couple moved to Hammond in late January this year from a home they had built in Valparaiso 12 years ago.

“It was a fabulous home,” Soria says.

They now live in one of the Minas mansions on Forest Avenue. Soria says. The 5100 square-foot home was built in 1928 with the style and design by L. Cosby Bernard.

“The skeleton keys are in the initials of the original owner Edward C. Minas,” Soria says. “E. C. Minas had our home built for his daughter. The home directly to the south of our home is where E. C. Minas and his wife lived. The home even had a butler’s quarters on the second floor equipped with its own wood burning fireplace.”

The Minas name is well known in Hammond. Randall Minas says the former Minas department store was founded by his great grandfather in 1890 as a hardware store.

“Over the years, it grew into the quintessential department store in the Northwest Indiana area, providing high-quality products rivaling those found on the shelves of much larger department stores,” Minas says.

The family business closed in 1985, Minas says.

Now the weather is breaking and events are popping up all over the Hammond, Soria says. Soria and Fech attended the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church Fest and are looking forward to attending the Festival of the Lakes, about which Soria says he had heard wonderful things.

Greek Fest was held the weekend of June 6. It featured ethnic food, pastries, saganaki and music.