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RDA involved in getting funding to knock down Gary eyesore

Updated: December 20, 2012 9:17PM



The Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority is expected to lend its financial muscle to Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson’s quest to knock down the former Sheraton Hotel, a dilapidated 14-story eyesore in the heart of downtown.

RDA chairman and president Bill Hanna said after Tuesday’s RDA Board of Directors meeting at the Purdue Technology Center in Crown Point that he expects the city to seek a $200,000 Regional Challenge Grant early next year from the RDA.

Freeman-Wilson said recently she’s cobbling together funding from several pots to tear down the hotel, a project expected to cost as much as $1.2 million.

She said because of asbestos still found at the hotel, the city expects to receive a $400,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfield remediation grant. In addition, the city has targeted $600,000 of its federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program money.

“The RDA will play some kind of role,” Hanna said. “It’s significant in terms of a regional image. I applaud the mayor for taking action.”

Last week, Lauren Riga, the city’s green urbanism director, said implosion might be the best method to take down the Sheraton which is next to City Hall on Broadway. Riga said the concrete from demolition isn’t recyclable so disposal will be another expense.

The city is expected to begin taking bids on the demolition project early next year.

The 300-room hotel opened as a Holiday Inn in 1971 when Richard G. Hatcher was mayor. It closed four years later and reopened in 1979 under the Sheraton brand. It closed for the final time in 1985.



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