GARY │ A partnership between Indiana University Northwest and the city of Gary has been developed to bring sustainable economic development to its shared community.
The initiative, Leadership IU Northwest, is led by a team of university and city personnel who will implement innovative ways of thinking about economic development.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the joint planning process will provide city leaders with guidance as they move into new development, particularly in the university park area bordered by Ivy Tech and IU Northwest.
“It will ultimately be a benefit to the university and to the city,” she said. “The greatest aspect of the project is it will stand the test of time.”
The leadership team, which began the process in November, has developed what it’s calling the Gary Urban Institute. Its first three projects are developing a policy decision-making tool for sustainable development, a city of Gary and IU Northwest exchange program and an IU Northwest student business startup initiative.
The projects are adaptable to change and the team will share them with stakeholders in the community “to move it forward,” said IU Northwest faculty member Ellen Szarleta.
Gary zoning administrator Joe Van Dyk said the exchange program is a way the city can tap in and leverage the resources and expertise from the kind of high-minded thinking that comes with a university, and the university gets applicable use of those resources.
IU Northwest Chancellor William J. Lowe said it is critical for the university to have a willing and reliable partner in Freeman-Wilson and that the team has come up with a versatile tool that’s adaptable to an individual municipality.