Gary to use federal money to demolish 50 homes in 2013
By Michael GOnzalez Post-Tribune correspondent December 5, 2012 1:28PM
Updated: December 5, 2012 1:28PM
GARY- The Board of Public Works and Safety Wednesday signed a slew of contracts, most of them paying out federal money to social service agencies and two for work done by private contractors in the city.
The biggest portion of that federal money, $600,000, will go to demolishing unsafe, abandoned houses throughout the city.
One of the private contracts was for an additional $17,000 to Walsh and Kelly for paving work on 8th Avenue from Louisiana Street to about 750 feet west of Ohio Street. Last month, the board approved a $25,500 payment to Walsh and Kelly to pave a long stretch of Ohio Street from a railroad crossing to 8th Avenue.
The board also approved an $8,000 contract to Valparaiso-based Test America labs for annual groundwater sampling at the former and long-shuttered Gary landfill.
According to a contract sought by Community Development and Community Redevelopment, $600,000 in federal money will go to demolish about 50 homes over the next year. The money will be split evenly, with the city performing about $50,000 worth of work each month.
The next biggest chunk, about $107,000 in three contracts, went to Continuum of Care, a social service agency run by Sharon Hightower-Liggins that works with homeless people. Community Development gave the agency $97,400 in HUD housing money for its work and a $5,000 contract for data collection and sharing with other agencies.
A third contract, from Gary’s Department of Human Relations, for $5,000 went to Continuum of Care for “delivering housing and supportive services” and sharing information with other agencies addressing homelessness.
Tens of thousands of more federal dollars were spread among a variety of agencies like $60,000 for an extended day program by the Youth Services Bureau, a $35,000 summer and evening recreation program by Gary’s parks and recreation department and $68,000 for “homeless prevention activities” sponsored by the Catholic Charities of the Catholic Diocese of Gary.
The board also approved Human Relations’ hiring of Brenda Scott-Henry as a part-time Fair Housing Awareness Project coordinator working about 15 hours a week for up to $24,000 for one year and more money to different shelters for homeless men, women and children.