Buffington Harbor should be used by industries, not as a recreational area, Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told a regional planning commission on Thursday.
Under the current regional Marquette Plan, the harbor area by Majestic Star Hotel and Casino would be developed as a marina and green space where area families could enjoy Lake Michigan.
But Freeman-Wilson told the Lake Michigan Marina Development Commission that remediating the area up to the standards for parks would cost $10 million to $20 million. She said the area would be better as an industrial area, serving a company like the Canadian National Railroad, U.S. Steel and other heavy industry around it.
“I thought we would be better served with that as an intermodal yard,” Freeman-Wilson told The Times on Thursday night.
Freeman-Wilson said no businesses are currently planning to move into the area, nor are there plans to house a recently discussed municipal waste-to-energy plant there.
Updates to the 1993 Marquette Plan made in 2001 and 2011 had the area as a marina and green space to take advantage of and complement the nearby casino.
Gary resident Jim Nowacki, who attended the commission meeting, said Freeman-Wilson's speech was “jaw-dropping.”
“That's right smack in the face of the regional consensus of the Marquette Plan,” Nowacki said.
Members of the commission could not be reached for comment Thursday.