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Gary nonprofit wants to work to rehab or demolish homes

GARY — The head of a local nonprofit company told Redevelopment Commission members last week he wants to help clean up Gary neighborhoods in exchange for help for some of his workers.

Roger Hayward, of It’s Gary’s Time Inc., told the board he wants his nonprofit firm to help Gary reclaim and remodel vacant properties and land. His company hires ex-offenders and other nonviolent offenders serving sentences in programs like community corrections, parole and probation, to rehab and sometimes demolish buildings.

Hayward said he wants to work closely with city officials in developing long-term plans to clean up the city and keep his crew working. In exchange, he asked for a daily stipend, perhaps $25 per worker, part of which will go toward paying living expenses in the justice system programs and the rest going directly to the worker.

Board Attorney Gilbert King and Redevelopment Director Valda Staton said they would meet with Hayward to discuss a working relationship.

The board approved using more than $150,000 in federal funds to tear down eight properties throughout the city. Four local contractors will demolish abandoned homes and buildings, with contracts ranging from $7,100 up to $67,872 in federal money.

The demolition of one of those properties, the shuttered Dena’s Pub, 3508 Broadway, for $24,000, will make the property part of the University Park Plan, a long-range project by the city of Gary, Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College to transform Glen Park.

Also at the Wednesday meeting, Staton said her office is looking into leasing options for business owners. City workers are compiling floor plans and rental fees and hoping to get rid of unofficial tenants in the Adam Benjamin Metro Center and the City Hall Annex, 839 Broadway.

“We have a good bit of squatting in both areas,” Staton told the board. “We were going to have to clear that up right away.”

As for the few businesses that have business licenses that hold leases, “all the leases have expired, so they’re living month to month,” Staton said.



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