Lakeshore News Tonight

The Essence Of Green Urbanism In Gary

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Environmental issues are becoming a cultural priority … and Gary’s Director of Green Urbanism says green priorities mean good business.  Lauren Riga was at this month’s Environmental Conference in Gary … to promote environmentally sound practices in a city with a history of industrial pollution. Lakeshore Public TV News Director Jerry Howard interviewed her…..

Question:  What are the distinct challenges to Gary that the conference addressed?
Lauren Riga:  Gary has a lot of legacy challenges, such as contamination and superfund sites in over 50 square miles to address the environmental issues with limited resources.  Before Gary launches new initiatives, it is working to manage existing situations.  “Some of the legacy things need to be looked at first.”

Question:  What do you mean by “legacy?”
Lauren Riga:  Over 100 years of industrial activity would be one (laughs).  A lot of dumping has taken place.  All of our watersheds in Gary are contaminated or classified as contaminated.  That is also from many decades of mistreatment.  Some of the green initiatives can help revitalize the City and address the legacy issues through green practices, “but some of them need to be addressed, too, first.”

Question:  So, it the work a process of reversing long-term legacy damage and effort underway, or has pollution of water and green space in Gary stopped already?
Lauren Riga:  I think that education of stakeholders and decision makers about lower impact methods of development help.  In many ways there are traditional development practices that contribute to contamination.”

Riga spoke at the Calumet Conference about the environment … and she says she thinks Lake County is aware of the need for environmental priorities.


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