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GARY | Gary is one of four cities named recipients of the Center for Community Progress’ Technical Assistance Scholarship Program, a national nonprofit to help local leaders develop new strategies to address property blight, vacancy and abandonment.

"The city of Gary's designation as a TASP recipient is huge for us because it coincides with the many efforts we are currently employing to eliminate blight in our community," Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said. "The technical assistance that will be provided allows us to be more strategic with our initiatives and make visible impacts one neighborhood at a time."

Community Progress’ work in Gary will focus on data and how it can be used to inform policy and practice. Community Progress will examine, at a systems level, how property and other neighborhood-related data are being gathered. The organization will offer recommendations to the city’s redevelopment department on how to improve data collection and how to use data to inform blight elimination and neighborhood stabilization strategies.

Gary and three other cities — Detroit, Dallas, Texas, and Trenton, N.J., were chosen after requesting assistance in one or more of TASP’s key issue areas. These include strategic code enforcement, data and information systems, and vacant land maintenance and reuse strategies.

Proposed projects were reviewed on a range of criteria, including the potential for innovation that other cities can learn from, demonstrated leadership to implement reform and overall need.

“The team in Gary demonstrated strong leadership and a heartfelt commitment to developing new approaches to problem properties,” said Tamar Shapiro, president and CEO of the Center for Community Progress.

Each selected city will receive assistance from a team of national experts. Technical assistance will take place throughout the first half of the year and may include, for example, staff training sessions, legal and policy analysis and tailored reports with recommended changes.

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Metro Editor