Gary House Demolition Goal Doubled
August 13, 2014 — The city of Gary may be able to demolish twice the number of abandoned homes, using 6.6 million dollars in federal grant money.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson told those at yesterday’s “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” open house at the Genesis Center that they believe they could knock down 379 houses with the Hardest Hit Fund grant from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Nearly 800 houses could be now torn down over the next 18 months, out of an estimated 10,000 vacant houses suitable for demolition.
The Gary Redevelopment Commission received the first round of bids for 76 city-owned homes last week, and the mayor said the bids were low enough to stretch the grant money. Once the homes are torn down, Gary city officials could make the land available for private purchase or to provide green space for community gardens.
Gary is one of 22 cities in the “Strong Cities, Strong Communities” program. Mayor Freeman-Wilson also says the city applied yesterday for funds from the Choice Neighborhoods grant program. And she told the open house audience that she’s considering downsizing the size of Gary, now about 52 square miles, so city services can be better managed.