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Gary’s Fifth Avenue to be renamed for Rudy Clay

Former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay

Former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay

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Updated: March 20, 2014 6:39AM



GARY — The Indiana House of Representatives could consider a resolution Thursday that authorizes renaming 5th Avenue after late Mayor Rudy Clay.

The resolution, read in a Senate committee Tuesday, was authored by Gary Democrat Earline Rogers, a close friend of the late mayor.

Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, the House sponsor, said the measure will likely go before that chamber Thursday.

“It was Sen. Rogers’ idea originally and she approached me,” Smith said Tuesday. “I think it’s a great idea and Rudy really served in many, many capacities. He really cared about Gary.”

The stretch of roadway, also known as U.S. 20, runs from County Line Road on the east to the East Chicago city line on the west. Clay, who served as mayor from 2006 to 2011, died last year from cancer.

Clay’s career in public life spanned 40 years. He served as a state senator, county councilman, county recorder, county commissioner and was elected Lake County’s first black Democratic Party chairman.

After his death, Lake County political leaders called Clay the consummate politician who loved Gary.

Clay led the city through its worst financial crisis, inheriting a $36 million budget deficit that led to the downsizing of city employees, furlough days and city services.

Clay often returned to the Statehouse, where he once served, to lobby for Gary and to let lawmakers and Gov. Mitch Daniels know how the state-imposed property tax cuts hurt his city. He even earned rare praise from Daniels for cutting 24 percent out of the city’s budget.

Smith said the resolution should clear both chambers and a directive would be sent to the Indiana Department of Transportation to erect signs.



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