October 17, 2014
The City of Gary, Indiana, is ushering in a new era. The days when the city was synonymous with urban blight and crime are fading into the distance. Once a symbol of disinvestment standing next to City Hall, the Sheraton Hotel is being demolished and will be replaced with community green space. Marquette Park has undergone an extensive renovation, making it a hub for community and family-focused events, including Gary's first marathon. Thanks to hundreds of volunteers, a newly renovated Boys and Girls Club sits in the once vacant Tolleston School. Gary's hometown brewery is producing critically acclaimed beer and continues to grow. And, IUN and Ivy Tech have partnered to build a new Arts and Sciences building on the corner of 35th and Broadway to serve as a cornerstone for future redevelopment projects.
The city is on the upswing, and everyone from teachers to business owners is feeling it. But what's behind Gary's revival, and what can we do to maintain, support, and build on the transformation? How do we ensure that Gary continues to become a more vibrant place to live and work?
Over the next three years, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a private, independent foundation based in Miami, will invest $15 million to answer these questions in Gary and twenty-five other communities across the United States. The foundation believes it is the city's own activists, designers, artists, planning professionals, hackers, architects, officials, educators, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and social workers who have the answers, and it wants them to take hold of their city's future. To that end, all are welcome to submit ideas to the Knight Cities Challenge in one of three areas that the foundation believes are the drivers of future success for Gary: attracting talented people, expanding economic opportunity, and creating a culture of civic engagement.