Setting sights high for a more prosperous Region future is necessary if we're to reach our potential.
But it takes more than wishing and far-fetched sales pitches. We must first ensure a foundation of public safety and quality of life are firmly in place to attract the types of change we desire.
Until then, a sharper focus on enhancing the things we already do well is in order.
Gary's recent advertisement placed in the New York Times has been gaining national attention — in some cases of the bemused variety.
In the ad, the Steel City appealed directly to corporate giant online retailer Amazon and its CEO to consider Gary for its highly coveted national headquarters.
The Northwest Indiana Forum also reportedly contacted Amazon to make a competitive bid for the headquarters on behalf of our broader Region.
Some national news pundits have reacted to Gary's ad in a variety of ways, ranging from figurative pats on the head for the chutzpah of an impoverished and decaying city to bemusement that Gary could ever think it had a chance at accomplishing such a feat.
Just days after Gary placed the ad, all-too-common shootings and homicides occupied headlines emerging from the city.
The violence continues in very public places.
On Thursday, yellow crime scene tape cordoned off parts of the city's Tarrytown neighborhood where a Gary man exchanged gunshots with police and injured two officers before shooting himself.
A week ago Saturday, one man was killed and two others injured in an early morning shooting that caused a vehicle to careen off the Grant Street bridge, falling onto the Interstate 80-94 westbound ramp.
Crime and policing needs continue to run so thick in the city that extra patrols from the Lake County Sheriff are required — in addition to Gary's sworn police force — just to keep up.
Meanwhile, abandoned buildings — moldering magnets for crime — continue defining the building stock of the city. While some demolition progress has been made, it seems to move at a snail’s crawl that can't match the sheer volume of derelict properties.
Our entire Region will have to come to grips with and begin to solve some of these challenges before a Fortune 500 company — or even many smaller ones — can be lured to build a headquarters in Gary, or likely anywhere near it.
For now, we should focus on crime fighting and cleanup efforts — and on the city and Region's existing strengths.
Expanded commuter rail service holds much promise in transforming our economic landscape and attracting new residents and revenue.
Last week, we learned that a staple of the Gary economy, U.S. Steel, is expanding operations — but not in Indiana.
The Pittsburgh-based company is partnering with Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel to invest $400 million to build a new finishing line in Ohio.
Perhaps it didn't make economic sense for the steelmaker to bring this investment to Northwest Indiana. But it's certainly a reminder that we should be doing all we can to attract any and all expansions of an existing Region industry here, rather than in other states.
Gary, and a our greater Region, can and should be shooting for the stars. But there's a progression that must be followed if it’s to be more than pie-in-the-sky hyperbole.