Gary to announce redevelopment project

2013-07-18T14:12:00Z 2013-07-18T22:06:06Z Gary to announce redevelopment projectJoseph S. Pete, (219) 933-3316

Gary is planning a new redevelopment project aimed at revitalizing neighborhoods throughout the city.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and federal officials plan to announce the project at a news conference Friday afternoon at the Genesis Convention Center downtown.

Administrators from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation will take part in the announcement.

The three federal agencies have been working together since 2009 on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities initiative, which has awarded grant money to reclaim brownfields in Indianapolis and other cities. The goal of the collaboration is to help communities across the country meet housing, transportation and environmental goals, such as by encouraging the development of homes and stores near transit stops.

Both city and federal officials declined to comment on what specifically would be announced Friday.

City of Gary Director of Communications Chelsea Whittington said the project would benefit neighborhoods throughout the city.

Lauren Riga, director of the city's new department of green urbanism, told an environmental website in December that the city had been working with HUD and the EPA to address blighted buildings throughout the city.

"The city of Gary is collaborating with the U.S. EPA and HUD to explore opportunities for utilizing green infrastructure at abandoned derelict properties formerly occupied by large buildings, strip malls, stores and parking lots," Riga told Grist Magazine.

She did not return a message.

Gary has been pursuing a number of revitalization projects, including the creation of a university village with restaurants outside the Indiana University Northwest campus, a trauma center, a university-funded performing arts center, a redevelopment of the former Gary State Bank building downtown, a potential business park off of Dunes Highway, and a proposed lodge and resort at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Freeman-Wilson also recently relaunched the city's dollar home program in the hope of revitalizing the University Park neighborhood.

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