Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin, the 31st most populous city in the United States, and 39th most populous region in the United States. It is the county seat of Milwaukee County and is located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan. According to 2010 census data, the City of Milwaukee has a population of 594,833. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee– Racine–Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 2,037,542 as of an official 2012 estimate.Hobart is located in Lake County, Indiana with a population of 29,059 (2010 census). Hobart is situated approximately 40 miles southeast of Chicago, IL and approximately 148 miles northwest of Indianapolis, IN. Hobart is part of the Chicago MSA, which is the third largest MSA in the United States with a population of 9.4 million. The population in Lake County alone is 496,005, making it Indiana’s second-most populous county.
Hobart is home to one of Indiana’s largest indoor shopping malls, the Starwood-owned Southlake Mall, located in the southern part of the city near the intersection of US 30 and Interstate 65. Anchors in the mall include Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The area is filled with power centers and retail strip malls containing over 140 stores and restaurants. In 2006, Southlake underwent a significant expansion adding Dick’s Sporting Goods, Forever 21, a 12 screen Kerasotes theater, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Red Robin and Buffalo Wild Wings.
Hobart contains three major railroads: Norfolk Southern Railway - which runs through County Line Road to Liverpool Road; Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad - which runs through County Line Road to Wisconsin Street; and Canadian National Railway - which runs through Colorado Street and through a portion of Hobart in the southernmost part of the area known as Ainsworth. These three railroads are one of the many economic forces driving traffic, population, and growth in the area. The city also features 14 parks, 2 public 18-hole golf courses, and multiple recreational sports fields.
Top employers in the area include Indiana Botanic Gardens Inc., which is the nation’s largest and oldest retailer of herbs. They moved to Hobart in the mid-1990s and are located off Business Route 6. Midwest Products, a manufacturer of hobby materials and radio controlled model aircraft, has been headquartered in Hobart since 1952 and remains as one of the area’s top employers.
Hobart residents can easily commute to downtown Chicago via the Metra Electric South Shore Line and ChicaGO Dash shuttle busses. The South Shore line serves over 4.2 million passengers per year, running between downtown Chicago and South Bend, IN. Hobart has its own Metra stop at Lake Street and Highway 12, only a couple of miles north of the site. ChicaGO Dash services 200 riders daily and runs from nearby Valparaiso, IN to Chicago.