Hundreds take survey to help shape Gary and Region Investment Project - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Hundreds take survey to help shape Gary and Region Investment Project

Photo by Karen Kring

A participant at the GRIP launch weighs in on what projects will do the most to improve Gary and other urban core communities in NWI. More than 800 people responded to the survey at the event, online or by mail.

More than 800 residents of Northwest Indiana took the Gary and Region Investment Project (GRIP) survey between Oct. 27 and Dec. 5, 2010, providing critical feedback to help the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and The Times Media Company further sharpen the focus of GRIP, a regional initiative to reinvest strategically in Gary and Northwest Indiana's urban core communities.

The survey asked respondents to select the top three community and regional development projects they think will have the greatest potential to improve Gary and the region. The survey also asked respondents to identify the top three criteria the region should use to select those projects.

More than 650 people responded to the survey online or mailed in responses. Approximately 150 people took the same survey using keypad polling at the launch of GRIP on Oct. 27, at the Genesis Center, in Gary, for a total of more than 800 responses.

"People's willingness to take time out of their day to think critically about how to improve Gary and other urban core communities in Northwest Indiana is a strong testament to the region's support for GRIP," said MPC Community Development Director Joanna Trotter. "We're grateful to everyone who participated and shared the survey with their colleagues, friends and neighbors."

The projects that ranked highest were the Gary/Chicago International Airport Business Plan and Implementation; Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District TOD; Downtown-Midtown/Broadway Plan Implementation; Gary Marquette Park Lakefront East; I-65 Gateway Park; Gary/East Chicago South Shore Redevelopment Plan; Gary High-Speed Rail Hub; and University Park Plan. Review a complete ranking of projects.

The criteria that ranked highest were Creates Jobs and Spurs Economic Development; Strengthens Existing Communities; and Has a Reasonable Chance of Being Implemented. Review a complete ranking of criteria.

Learn more about the priority projects as well as the criteria for selecting them by reviewing the GRIP Participant's Guide.

GRIP's next step is to further evaluate the highest-priority projects to determine their benefits to Northwest Indiana's urban core and the region as a whole. In 2011, GRIP will partner with communities and development experts, through the Urban Land Institute-Chicago, to get the most beneficial priority projects off and running.


  1. 1. Melvin T on December 15, 2010

    The GRIP survey results are an early Christmas present for the Gary region. Not only are the top three projects game changers they are all catalytic in nature and congruent in their ability to spur co-developments.

    The success of the airport most certainly will help create a litany of businesses and increase the diversity of both local and regional economies. Similarly, Transit-Oriented Development’s proven ability to attract housing, retail and office dovetails with the proposed medical/university district downtown and augments adaptive reuse in Midtown along Broadway Avenue.

    In short, the successful outcomes of these three key projects depend in part on them being fruitful both independently and alongside each other. Moreover, the well documented 21st century migration back to urban cities bodes well for the balance of projects in Gary.

    Count it all joy!

  2. 2. Gary resident on December 16, 2010

    I would bet that the vast majority of respondents who chose the TOD project were voting for a Lake Street train station, NOT the Broadway one, so I don't think Melvin T is exactly right that the project dovetails with the the other proposed downtown projects mentioned.

  3. 3. concerned citizen on December 16, 2010

    I am supportive of projects that will help all of Gary. However, I agree that TOD at Lake Street fits in much better with existing businesses and private development efforts. We need to focus in places were development can actually work. The Lake Street South Shore station is supported by the community there and already surrounded by existing businesses. Let's build on that strength and get a lot more bang for our buck.

  4. 4. another concerned resident on December 16, 2010

    Gary resident & concerned citizen are right.. Again Miller is skewed by pollsters. the distinction didn't show. Hmm, I wonder if Parsons & Hanas (NICTD Execs) had anything to do with the format

  5. 5. Green in Miller from Miller Beach of course on December 18, 2010

    I support the TOD at Lake St. The Lake Street train stop is used by a host of residents from Miller and surrounding cities. Business' and business-to-be's should inquire more of the community's needs, wants and try to build on those ideas and ADVERTISE then of course the biggee S-U-P-P-O-R-T! Miller is a wonderful place and there is no reason that we cannot be that town -that people want to visit for quaint stores, live entertainment and cool eats. Money has to be spent to bring in great ideas which would then pay for itself.

  6. 6. TOD on Lake St. from Gary, IN on December 21, 2010

    My guess is that the hundreds of people who voted for "TOD" are supporting the TOD on Lake St. Lake St. is Gary's pathway to its greatest jewel- the lakefront. The Marquette Plan and Greenway project are already in place and working. There is actually private money currently invested along Lake St. That is where the TOD makes sense.

  7. 7. Cullen Ben Daniel from Miller Beach, Indiana on December 22, 2010

    When I voted for TOD I was voting for development in Miller along Lake Street. That was my sole intention in voting for TOD. It is not that I don't support development in Downtown Gary however GRIP should focus first on developing Lake Street. As Lake Street is main artery to the Lakefront it is more likely to succeed and goes hand and hand with the Marquette Plan. It is plan to see that currently Lake Street is the only viable location for TOD development in the city

  8. 8. Melvin T on February 1, 2011

    Sorry for the late rebuttal but I would be remiss not to emphasize how critically important the Broadway Station is as it relates to revitalizing Gary's central business district downtown. While the Miller stop is indeed a no-brainer for TOD, it pales in comparison to the economic development potential of creating what amounts to a new residential neighborhood downtown.

    Sorry folks, but there is far too much upside to leveraging the amenity-rich downtown area, which includes an aesthetically pleasing Metro Center, beautiful but underused Gateway Park, underutilized Genesis Convention Center and open air plaza, underappreciated Main Library, a successful ballpark and a plethora of urban infill land for mixed-use development.

    If you want to catch more fish, you gotta cast a wider net, right? The Wal Marts, Targets, Home Depots and fragmented grocers are rolling out compact urban versions of themselves across the Midwest. If we truly want to increase our tax base then we should roll out the red carpet for commercial development in the city center. We simply cannot continue to ignore the greatest source of city revenue (commercial, office, residential and retail) and the chance to transform a desolate area into a thriving, walkable neighborhood. Any urban planner worth his/her salt will tell you that driving into a city and covering your eyes downtown is downright unnatural. It sets the tone for the city. We must fix this post haste.

  9. 9. Kristi DeLaurentiis, MPC on February 2, 2011

    Thought it worth noting that the Downtown/Broadway/Metro Center implementation plan ranked high on poll, so hundreds voiced their support for this as priority. Several added comments, like Melvin T's, seeing this project as one that could link housing, transportation, jobs, economic development and environmental benefits, serving the region.

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