Gary sets plan to draw businesses
By Michael Gonzalez Post-Tribune correspondent August 8, 2012 8:26PM
Updated: September 10, 2012 1:40PM
GARY — Four new companies are considering bringing business to the city, while one already in the city may expand its operations, a city official told his board members late Wednesday.
Eric Reaves, assistant director with Gary’s Economic Development Corp., also said Gary is sticking to a more organized approach to locating businesses here, matching potential businesses, including some big-name operations, to parts of the city that may work best for them.
Reaves used pseudonyms to describe the businesses considering Gary. One, which he labeled “Project Green,” is a fuel maker that would bring 11 jobs, making about $15 an hour, and need about 5 acres.
“Project Surgical,” a medical company, would need a 20,000-square-foot building and provide 70 new jobs making from $15 an hour to $20 an hour, while “Project Snow” is a natural soap manufacturer with five jobs paying about $10 an hour.
An energy resales company, which Reaves called “Project Energy,” would bring 10 jobs paying up to $60,000 a year.
The last company Reaves described is a cookie manufacturer already operating in Gary that is looking for a 20,000-square-foot building to expand. The company would offer five additional jobs for $10 an hour, he said.
“Rather than businesses just coming here by osmosis, we’re going to go out and get them” Reaves told the board members.
The EDC, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the city’s commerce department have divided Gary into 10 areas, focusing on different types of businesses such as light or heavy industrial or retail, depending on the demographics of the area, Reaves said.
For example, the University Park area, on Broadway around Indiana University-Northwest, may support restaurant chains like Chipotle or Five Guys hamburgers or a Fed Ex store, Reaves said.
A preliminary transportation-oriented district, or TOD, is intended for the Lake Street NICTD station, though the future site of that South Shore station is still up in the air.
The idea also is to support a comprehensive city plan, not just put businesses wherever they fit or may want to be, Reaves said.
“We want them to put (potential) businesses in areas that are conducive to the city’s plans,” he said.