CHICAGO (CBS) — Officials in Gary, Indiana, have won a $500,000 federal planning grant they plan to use to continue efforts to reduce blight.
The city plans to use the grant to attract even more investments through a hyper-local approach to addressing problems in the University Park East neighborhood, which is home to campuses for Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University Northwest.
However, half the buildings are vacant, including the elementary school. All but two of the 25 nearby schools get Ds or Fs from the Indiana State Board of Education, and violent crime is three times the city’s average.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said the way to solve those problems is to focus on many issues in one neighborhood.
“I think it’s both effective in attracting both state and federal money, but also in attracting local investment,” she said. “If we focus on an area, others will come and invest.”