GARY - A building that once represented the racial divide in the city of Gary, but long provided health care to the African American community, will soon fall to a wrecking ball. The city says it intends to raze the long-abandoned St. John’s Hospital.

Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the hospital, which closed nearly 70 years ago, is so badly deteriorated that razing it was necessary for safety.

"No matter how many basketball courts you have in the city, kids want to play somewhere dangerous," said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

The paper reports the hospital, which was built in 1929, served the city's black community at a time of segregation. It employed black doctors and nurses.
The structure has been repeatedly named one of Indiana's most endangered buildings by Indiana Landmarks in recent years.

"Unfortunately, St. John Hospital is in a state that is beyond repair and any efforts to save it would be more appropriately considered a reconstruction," Northwest Indiana Landmarks Director Brad Miller said. ” Tragically, local efforts never received the extra boost required to get the building stabilized."

The publication says the city aims to tear down the hospital this year but will attempt to salvage some of the façade and place a historic marker to recognize its significance to the community.

Click here to read the rest of the story from The Times of Northwest Indiana.