Gary Projects in Running For Knight Cities Challenge


Four communities in Gary are among the finalists for a quality-of-place initiative from a national nonprofit. The Florida-based John S. and James L. Knight Foundation says the neighborhoods were selected along with more than 150 others to vie for spots in the Knight Cities Challenge.

More than 4,500 applications were submitted. The program seeks to answer the question: "what's your best idea to make cities more successful?"

The foundation says the concepts focused on one or more of the following "drivers" of success:

  • Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest
  • Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects and break down divides
  • Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement

Winners will be announced in the spring and will share $5 million. The challenge is part of a three-year, $15 million commitment. 

The foundation describes the project submissions for Gary as:

Building Blocks by city of Gary (submitted by LaShawn Brooks): Creating community engagement teams to expand blight elimination efforts in Gary, focused on mobilizing and organizing volunteers to help clean up parts of the city.

PlaceSpace by Anderson Library, Indiana University Northwest (submitted by Timothy Sutherland): Creating an interactive space in Andersen Library that will bring city leaders, citizens and the University of Indiana Northwest community  together to address community challenges and work on collaborative projects.

SoFA (South of Fourth Avenue) Gary by EnthuseGroup and Blue 1647 Collaborative (submitted by Melvin Thompson): Repurposing a vacant lot into a new downtown tech-driven live-work-and-play destination that encourages talented young adults to live in Gary’s downtown core.

Creating Economic Opportunity in Gary Through Building Material Reclamation and Reuse by Delta Institute (submitted by Eve Pytel): Establishing a reuse facility that would reclaim building materials, such as lumber, from vacant homes in Gary to contribute to economic growth, create jobs and support businesses, and provide opportunities for community collaboration on development projects.

Other cities in the Midwest vying for the award include Akron, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Duluth, Minnesota; Lexington, Kentucky and St. Paul, Minnesota.

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