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IU Northwest, Gary herald partnership

Updated: April 3, 2013 7:03PM



GARY — The city is partnering with Indiana University Northwest to create a framework that enables the city to make solid business growth decisions.

The partnership evolved from “Leadership IU,” developed by the Kelley School of Business at the Bloomington campus to tap into the leadership and knowledge of the university’s faculty and staff and apply it to improve the community.

The local group, led by city zoning director Joe Van Dyk and IU Northwest faculty member Ellen Szarleta, has been meeting since November to create a computer-driven set of criteria to evaluate new ventures based on economic, social and environmental impacts.

The group calls the initiative the Gary Urban Institute. “It will be a policy decision-making tool for sustainable development,” said Van Dyk.

He said the partnership isn’t a new idea, but it’s one that lacked continuity. He said IUN officials and city leaders are focusing on their collective strengths to create a methodology that will allow the city to make good business decisions.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and IU Northwest Chancellor William Lowe gave their blessings to the new group at a luncheon gathering Wednesday at the Chancellor’s Commission on Community Engagement.

“The greatest impact of this project is that it will stand the test of time... and benefit the university and the city,” said Freeman-Wilson.

She said, for example, the Urban Institute could assist the city when it’s trying to determine the best path to take for development such as a public/private partnership at its airport.

Lowe said the Lilly Foundation underwrote Leadership IU and President Michael McRobbie specifically wanted to reach out and connect with Gary City Hall.

One phase of the institute’s plan focuses on IU Northwest students who will be able to create business start-ups to provide them with hands-on experience.

But next, the group will share its ideas with stakeholders at IU Northwest and city residents. The additional information could change the evaluation process.



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