Sunday, December 05, 2010

Trying to Ignite Spark of Revival in a Grim Gary

Let's hope this struggling Indiana city, a suburb of Chicago, can be revitalized by this man's efforts:

Anthony Broadnax clambered up the stairs of a vacant brick building in Gary, Ind., on Thursday, stepping through rubble left by thieves who had ransacked the structure for copper. The thick burgundy carpet was littered with trophies, microwave popcorn and plastic flowers.

Mr. Broadnax, 43, hopes to transform the building into the headquarters of a company that oversees revitalization projects. An engineer and Gary native who returned to the area from Houston four years ago eager to help transform his home town, he has big dreams: to turn an old library with a tree growing through its floor into a recycling center; to remake a towering apartment building with holes in its brick walls into a Hilton.

But the view from the building reveals the challenges that must be overcome. To the north are the belching smokestacks of U.S. Steel’s Gary Works, one of the few economic engines left in the city, but also a source of air pollution. Vacant lots and slumping abandoned houses line the road outside. The building itself was the headquarters of a company whose director pleaded guilty to 13 felony fraud-related counts, and stands as a symbol of the persistent corruption that is often blamed for failed efforts to revitalize the city.

Now, two unlikely partners — the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council and The Times Media Company, publisher of the Northwest Indiana Times — have taken the lead in a planning process that they hope will ignite lasting changes and save Gary.
Another interesting piece about Gary can be found at Chicagoist. They basically take a look at this piece from a BBC reporter about how stimulus funds haven't benefitted Gary.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are now moderated because one random commenter chose to get comment happy. What doesn't get published is up to my discretion. Of course moderating policy is subject to change. Thanks!