On Tuesday, Sept. 8, the Department of Minority Studies at Indiana University Northwest, in collaboration with the City of Gary, the Gary/East Chicago/Hammond (GECH) Empowerment Zone, and the Planning and the Black Community Division (PBCD) of the American Planning Association, will present and discuss the findings of a “visioning report,” titled “Visions for Broadway,” that was prepared by the PBCD in support of proposed redevelopment of the Broadway corridor between 4th Avenue and 19th Avenue.
The event will take place at 1 p.m. in the IU Northwest Library Conference Center, located on the campus at 3400 Broadway in Gary. Community members are invited to attend.
Speakers at the event will include IU Northwest Associate Professor of Minority Studies Earl Jones, Ph.D., who has done significant research on Gary’s Historic Midtown District, and Carlton Eley of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who assisted the PBCD by coordinating its technical assistance effort in support of Gary.
“Completion of the technical assistance report is a landmark event,” Eley said upon PBCD’s release of the 92-page report earlier this summer. “It represents the first time a majority African-American consulting team, consisting of planners, architects, community developers, and environmentalists, has assisted a major U.S. city to frame a vision for its future.”
As part of the PBCD’s biennial meeting in 2007, which was co-hosted by the IU Northwest Department of Minority Studies, the City of Gary, and the GECH Empowerment Zone, the group hosted a technical assistance workshop in which local citizens and other stakeholders came together to discuss their vision for the future of Broadway and Midtown. The PBCD was asked to produce a visioning report for enhancing a one-mile span of the Broadway corridor and addressing future growth there.
“Despite the signs of physical entropy and deterioration, Broadway still has an amalgamation of distinct treasures that can be leveraged to project an image as a gathering place for the community as well as a cultural and economic hub,” states the report’s executive summary. “By building on the competitive advantages of Broadway -- centrality; ease of access; existing services and institutions; and the cultural heritage of Midtown -- the corridor can be restored as a unique destination.”
On Sept. 8, Eley, Jones and other community stakeholders will come together to discuss the visioning report’s findings. Ben Clement, a Gary native and the Economic Development and Marketing Administrator for the GECH Empowerment Zone, emphasized that the PBCD report is not a prescription for a quick fix, but instead is an important element in what must necessarily be a strategic, long-term plan for Broadway’s revitalization.
“The downward spiral of Gary, Ind., like many other urban centers around the country, did not start overnight, so neither should an economic resurgence be expected immediately,” Clement said. “The revitalization of Gary will be a steady, deliberate, persistent process, and that effort begins with intelligent strategic planning. The work done by PBCD to formulate a plan to resurrect downtown and the historic midtown districts is a crucial building block for long-term redevelopment.”
IU Northwest and the Department of Minority Studies are pleased to welcome the community to this special Sept. 8 presentation. Doors open at 12:15 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early, as seating may be limited.