Gary Unveils Coney Island Style Development for Lake Street Beach

At issue is the transfer of 90 acres of prime lakefront land to the City of Gary Department of Redevelopment

March 31, 2017-The City of Gary made public plans that have been in the works for years yesterday regarding a 90 acre parcel of lake front property that includes much of Marquette Park. The development plan, pictured above, outlines a massive development on property that is currently park land. All of Lake Street Beach would be taken under the proposal.

Chicago based consultant John “Bo” Kemp led the discussion at which Common Council Members Rebecca Wyatt and Ron Brewer were in attendance. Meridian Hospitality Group presented a detailed plan including a hotel, an ice arena and retail shopping for the beachfront. The plan encompasses former Naval Reserve property located west of Lake Street but also an additional 80 acres to the east of Lake Street.

The Gazette first reported that the City had transferred the 90 acre parcel of pristine duneland to redevelopment back in 2013. City officials first said the transfer was a mistake but then backed off on that claim. As early as last month, the Gazette inquired and received the response that officials were looking into subdividing the property in order to maintain the park land.

Additional details will be forthcoming in the next few days but we wanted to get this story to you immediately. Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for updates.

UPDATE:  Based on a question we received, here is a large sized  GIS map of the affected property:

Comments

  1. Fed up with being looked down on being from Gary Reply

    Why use this money on the lake front????? use it to clean up the down town area. that is needed more than some coney island lake front. Lets get the rest of the city looking good before you do this. All that is going to attract is the gangs and other low life scum bags. If no one comes to visit gary now, why would this change their minds???? Gary gets the rep of being a big eye sore in NWI that is so ugly, full of gangs, murders, and all the abandoned houses and stores through out the entire city. Seems like everyone is more concerned with the Miller area just like all the other mayors.

  2. Heather Salisbury Reply

    Is this a real proposal?? This is horrible! I agree w/ the first commenter. Why destroy so much natural beauty for junk like this??? Please please do not build this. Build something that enhances the natural beauty and does not destroy it.

  3. Cullen Ben Daniel Reply

    What the heck, really??? Who thought this one out??? I could support that type of Coney Island Style development at Lake Street beach, BUT not in that location. Something like this should be built on land west of Lake Street, Between Lake Street Beach and the US Steel Breakwater. That area is under utilized and there are no homes currently there. The proposed development shown below destroys a large section of rare Indiana Dunes habitat (Interdunal Panne) and ruins the natural aesthetics of the beautiful Chanute Trail. It also blocks access to the lake and destroys the lakeviews for existing homes there. Once again, I’m not against the idea of Lakefront recreational development. But west of Lake Street makes more sense.

    • JJ Reply

      There are no homes being blocked. That section of town is DEAD with high crime. It isn’t blocking anything. No one barely uses this section of beach! West Lake is terrible. We get some spending and jobs coming in but not if its located by UGLY US Steel!!

      • BARRY GERSHINZON Reply

        YOU OBVIOUSLY DONT LIVE HERFE .I DO AND ITS NOT DEAD WITH CRIME. I LIKE IT JUST FINE THE PARK AND THE BEACH ARE BEAUTIFUL. WHY SHOULD THAT BE DESTROYED. THIS DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE PUT WHERE IT BELONGS. ATLANTIC CITY. OOPS THEY ALREADY HAVE THIS CRAP THERE, AND LOOK HOW GOOD ITS WORKED OUT FOR THEM.

  4. Jeff S Reply

    The streets need to be repaired before anything like this

    • Lamar Reply

      I am sure they already thought of the streets. I wish I was at the meeting, it sounds like a great group and they are bringing a lot to rebuild Gary especially jobs.

      • BARRY GERSHINZON Reply

        JOBS ARE FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK. IF THERE ARE NO JOBS PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK , MOVE TO WHERE THERE ARE JOBS. ALL WE HAVE LEFT IN GARY IS PEOPLE WHO DONT WANT TO WORK. SO STAOP YOUR INFANTILE FANTASISING AND THEN YOU WONT HAVE TO WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO BRING A JOB TO YOU

  5. ML Reply

    The Miller area pays the lion’s share of property taxes in Gary, so the mayor(s) must be very concerned with Miller.

  6. GG Reply

    I think Cullen Ben Daniel has a valid concern re dunes habitat. Locating this great project between Lake St & US Steel Breakwater is better idea. Everyone wins!

  7. Terry Warriner Ryan, FASLA Reply

    Heather is right! All who have visited Marquette Park know it is a beautiful place that should not be destroyed. The basic principle is this: Lakefront property should remain in the public realm, not in the hands of private development. Please keep the beachfront for the people and, if development is necessary, keep development on the highway side of the area with access into the park and to the beach. The City of Gary and the developer should involve a professional landscape architect in this project to show them how to sensitively develop it for the benefit of all.

    • Betty Baxter Reply

      Since it wasn’t reported. The developer came to the Gary presentation with 20 PEOPLE (Engineers, Construction, Finance Firms, Architects, AND a National Park Consultant). They also spoke to taking care of the roads. I am for it.

  8. pam Reply

    don’t do this please put your time and money n the city.. roads. building the need to be brought down and fix up downtown so some big name stores will come and we can spend our money n gary not else where… don’t do this… don’t waste the money ..or is about the money that the city will never see..

  9. D. Bates, Dunes Action Reply

    This is all part of privatizing everything. We in Porter County have been fighting a private development for 2 years on our State Beach. Go to DunesAction.org and maybe join us. This is not right, it is up to us to preserve our public lands for the future.

  10. Gary Reply

    Marquette Park has received LWCF funding and this would violate terms of the grant money as a conversion. Someone needs to hold Gary accountable for receiving that grant money.

    • Autumn K. Reply

      If you were so concerned then why wasn’t you presented at the Gary Redevelopment meeting to ask the National Park representative that Meridian Hospitality Group had present for questions regarding the Dunes?

  11. Mira Reply

    Such waste!

  12. Thomas Semesky Reply

    I’m totally against it. Throughout the years you get these little hints from those in power, on how they would like to develop the lakefront from Michigan City to the Illinois state line. Everything from restaurants, amusement parks, casinos, boat docks, condominiums, etc.

    Years ago, I remember at a public meeting, someone had asked the head of the Indiana DNR, if condominiums could be built in the Indiana Dunes State Park. His response, “by law, YES”. That remark was very telling. He didn’t go on and say that they would do everything possible to PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING or that the “law” should be changed. I have that sad response, recorded somewhere on tape.

    Another phrase they often use to encourage lakefront development is, “look at Chicago”. My response to that is, Bull$hit! If that’s what you want, then move to Chicago. We have a unique area along the lakefront, LEAVE IT ALONE!

    • Charris Reply

      It is a waterfront (Mix-use buildings, Museum, Visitor Center, Shopping, Entertainment, more) It is a place to live, work and visit. The development is not dependent on “Look at Chicago” I CAN’T WAIT!

  13. Peggy Blackwell Reply

    Coney Island Style? Hopefully not the Vegas style redevelop that Coney Island is eyeing, or a kitschy Wisconsin Dells type of attraction. How does the Pavilion and the Aquatorium fit into this drawing, I don’t see them on the plan.

    • Charris Reply

      They are not on the plan because it is being developed further down next to the Aquatorium parking lot.

  14. Matt Reply

    Pam, what sort of big name stores do you expect downtown Gary to draw? Where do you think Downtown Gary has the ability to put these stores?

    The Coney Island idea is ridiculous and just continues the pattern of Gary trying to hit pie in the sky home runs instead of going for base hits and fixing the fundamental problems of Gary.

    • D Blaine Reply

      The representation of Coney Island by the reporter is just plain absurd. Conceptually, Meridan proposed a Ferris Wheel, which in many parts of the country, and world, is a huge annual draw. Don’t think so? Ask London.

      The entire concept is built around doing what Gary currently DOES NOT do, draw people from areas of the region to come stay and spend their money here. Or come start their business here, raise their families, enjoy their off hours.

      Of course, you see some of that in the summer, but how much better off would today’s residents of Gary be if 25,000 new well paying jobs were created; that brought 10,000 families with the disposable incomes so that a variety of business opportunities would open up to serve them?

      The fundamental problems of Gary are lack of economic opportunity, the VERY thing proposal by Meridian was designed to create. Good work the trades people, where younger people can gain access into skilled trades that produce incomes you can raise a family on.

      • Matt Reply

        Meridian actually said that it would create 25,000 new jobs?

        That it would draw 10,000 new families to Gary?

        They are smoking something serious if that is the case.

        You think a ferris wheel alone draws people to London or Downtown Chicago?

        For starters, the London “Eye” was the largest ferris wheel in the world when it was built. 2nd, despite it being the most popular paid attraction in London it has consistently been run at a loss and had to have it’s debt restructured. And last … the London eye is year round where the Gary ferris wheel would only be seasonal.

        People are extremely gullible when these “amazing” developments are announced while the city becomes a 3rd world country around them.

        • D. Blaine Reply

          Matt;

          Are you saying its not possible for 1,000 businesses to grow up inside Gary that have 25 employees? This is the way businesses are growing through out the nation. Smaller, specialized niches, service companies, niche manufacturers, local food growers.

          Further Gary is ripe for Chicago firms to open lower cost satellite offices. The area around the Marine holds all sorts of promise.

          People want change. They want improvement. Here is a group willing to bring it to Gary, asking essentially nothing in return. It appears to me Gary has everything to gain and little to lose.

          • Matt

            That is exactly what I am saying.

            You are claiming that a city with only 78,000 residents can grow by more than 10% and create jobs equaling nearly 1/3 of it’s population.

            The average small business in the United States has 4 employees.

            What kind of firms do you think are going to open up satellite locations in Gary? Name some industries that you believe are prime for Gary’s residents and lack of skills.

            So why hasn’t Gary developed small businesses up to this point?

  15. simine Reply

    It is interesting that they even painted in the boat launch area. Maybe this envisioned park will come and disappear just like the launch area does several times a year. There has to be a better way to spend money and attract visitors.

  16. Marie Reply

    Seems the above comments didn’t attend the meeting. This group had a representative from that is involved with the National Park Service discussing the care in keeping the Dunes protected. Also, its NOT tax dollars paying for it. They mentioned building the streets to the area. You people talk with no facts which the Gazette FAILED to mention. You don’t put a fun environment next to a SOOT factory. We need to get Gary back on the map as a great place to visit and live; plus, this brings in jobs! And we sure could use a HOTEL. It is a great idea and we need this!!!!! and they were very concern about the city!! Gazette you are doing a great job being negative as usual!

    • Matt Reply

      Idiocy! Gary needs to stop trying to make Gary a travel destination … ie … Michael Jackson Museum …. or a Casino destination …. the baseball stadium …. or the 3rd Chicago airport.

      Gary needs jobs and that needs to be created by “small ball” instead of home runs. Gary needs actual residents and people actually paying property taxes.

      Gary needs to focus on infrastructure, housing stock, crime and education. Beyond that Gary needs to do everything in it’s power to draw new residents that own property. Job creation through small business entrepreneurship. Drawing new middle class residents based on location to Chicago.

      Currently Gary is not a livable city or one that has ANY draw to visitors (local or otherwise). That needs to change before Gary can advance.

      • Mike Turner Reply

        Exactly and that is what this development will do… improve the roads, bring in JOBS and spending. People will move their businesses which brings people to live. As it is, no one wants to even visit Gary. As for the Jackson family, they are in the news because the family can’t even get along with each other. The Estate doesn’t even want to deal with Michael’s parents! I hope the museum doesn’t have anything to do with the Jacksons. People can just keep on visiting the house then come to the real entertainment – THE WATERFRONT! Yay!!

        • Matt Reply

          What businesses do you think are going to come to Gary? Seriously, you are as delusional as the politicians if you believe a seasonal entertainment location (if it ever even gets off the ground) would draw permanent jobs and businesses.

          The Jackson’s blew out of Gary 50 years ago because it was on it’s way to being a rat hole then and never looked back. That’s the reason why a Jackon museum never got off the ground.

          Gary’s problems will be fixed slow over a few generations if they take it seriously. There are no “quick” fixes. US Steel Yard and the airport should be examples of wasted pie in the sky thinking.

          The emphasis on housing stock and drawing new residents into Gary should be the emphasis. The location to Chicago could draw better educated and higher income young residents looking for affordable housing. It is then a catalyst towards better schools and lower crime. It takes time but it takes a laser focus that doesn’t exist in current leaders that are only looking for political power and wealth stolen from the city.

      • D. Blaine Reply

        Meridian described using planning that would attract individuals, families, and businesses who want what GARY COULD provide. For instance, Gary is a ripe location for Millennial individuals and their families.

        This plan plays exactly to attracting them. They want low impact, walkable, bike friendly streets. They want and support local businesses, cafes, shops, and small high tech businesses.

        Look at areas around the country that are booming because this is exactly what’s offered along affordable living space. Millennials are huge supporters of mass transit, cycling, and local foods.

        They love to start new companies that serve people, improve things. This development is ripe for them. They are also the most diverse group of Americans who truly want a peaceful, co-existence where everyone is welcome.

        Finally, the people this development attracts are nurturers. You see it everywhere across the country where they ‘dig in’. They make old neighborhoods better, bring high quality jobs in to small companies who pay well.

        This is exactly what Gary needs to keep those IU grads here.

        • Matt Reply

          Again pie in the sky idiocy that has driven Gary’s plans for the last 30 years.

          Millennial’s want to live in areas that have everything they are looking for. Food and entertainment choices. They want quality restaurants and nightlife.

          That’s why they are currently drawn to urban gentrified neighborhoods.

          Relocating Gary restaurants to this development isn’t going to cut it. Shark’s Shrimp and Chicken shoved next to a Gyro joint isn’t going to do anything.

          Gary needs to draw young families to change it’s future. The way to do that is affordable housing, good schools, low crime, and an easy commute. So far Gary has 1 of the 4 …..and a herculean task of changing the other 3.

          The solution for Gary begins at making the city safe and the schools able to give children a basic education. They fail miserably at both.

          Right now Gary has nothing to offer and the development listed above does nothing to change that.

          • D. Blaine

            Matt;

            Not so. Many Cities like Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo are rapidly reshaping themselves. Millenials are nurturers by and large. They like nothing better than being part of revitalizing areas. Don’t confuse them with the Yuppies of the 80’s. They are gobbling up vintage everything, are big on reuse, recycle, and restore. They prefer locally owned businesses to chains; except for Starbucks.

            Some how you totally give zero credit to the people of Gary. Everyone is screaming for investment, new blood, growth etc., and you seem to want to think there’s no talent in this town.

            Safety improves radically when prosperity is present. So why discourage it? This project isn’t about what can be taken FROM Gary, it is built upon capitalizing on the good things Gary has to offer, and that includes citizens who want well paying jobs, good schools, and desirable living.

      • Mike Miller Reply

        Matt, you obviously don’t know the group and its been pointed out that you nor NWI have written about any other group that proposed to the Redevelopment last week. Possibly you are the competition coming in making noise! lol You don’t seem to know your facts and done research on just how advantage waterfront / mixuse developments can be. As for the “4 people” per business, what the hell are you talking about? Are you including sub-contractors, self-employee. What about the other groups? Where is your mouth on those companies? What about the “20” professionals coming under Meridian?? Where are your comments on those groups? You need to shut-up man or screw Gary like everyone does that keeps Gary in its shit-hole. I do believe you are one of the other companies since you haven’t spoken about anything else! Come on into Gary, Meridian Hospitality Group. See the word “group” Matt… that is what Developers do! And they bring JOBS!

  17. kevin Reply

    Appears NO ONE is looking at the photo. The development is not using the entire 90 acres. GARY NEEDS THIS! This will bring us back from the DEAD!

  18. Tim Reply

    With a city that looks like a war zone you think people will come to this I doubt it how about get rid of every single abandoned or burned out building before doing anything like this. What happen to spending all this money to tear down building they havent even made a dent yet and the roads are like death traps half of the traffic lights dont even work Do not let gary take over part of the dunes in 5 years it will look like gary all trashed.

  19. Mark Murg Reply

    Great! Something to do in Gary, IN! Terry Warriner Ryan, FASLA the beach is PUBLIC to the people! You must not ever travel. Marquette Park brings in a few people and NO jobs. There is plenty of beach and Miller could use this in their area.

  20. Gary Baxter Reply

    Love it! This type of development does wonders for a “decayed” city. I disagree, someone is bringing a new start to Gary you don’t throw them to US Steel! Time to open your minds people. No One Wants To Live Here and there is nothing that great about Marquette except if you go to a wedding.

  21. Keith L Morton Reply

    I am sorry for Gary . Gary need to work on down town. I live in Miller until 1985 . I came out of Wm. A. Wirt 1985 I would not have left if there was jobs. I had going back to Gary to move a company from Gary to Mississippi. People who is Leading the City!!!!!!!!! Need Jobs not a place to play. The first black Mayor Killed Gary !!!!!!!!!!! Now this Mayor is going to Killed Miller!!!!!!!! Wakeup people!!!!!!!!! I won’t to come home but I will not have a home to come back to. Trooper 85 for life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Matt Reply

      A black mayor has nothing to do with Gary. US Steel Town and not letting modern jobs come to Gary and closed-minded people.

  22. William Tarrant Reply

    If you build a pier out into the water beach erosion will happen immediately to the west of that structure. Gary tried to enhance the parking lot and created a mess with sand barriers instead what they thought would be pretty little curbed planters in the middle of the parking area. Bad designer with no concept of the beaches natural flow of water and sand. Lake street itself would not handle the traffic flow and no immediate access to freeway ramps will make such an enterprise fail within two years then a ghost town will be left. Look at coney island today and get a picture of history in the making. If Miller wants people to come to their community then just put in some decent restroom facilities, rebuild the food stand and people will flock to lake street beach. You can build a hotel where the maintenance/art center is if you really want one.

  23. D. Bates, Dunes Action Reply

    We are fighting this same thing in Porter County at the Dunes State Park. We have fought for 2 years already and have learned a lot. This is public land and belongs to all of us. It is up to us to preserve it for future generations.

    • Dan McCoy Reply

      Whatever. Life goes on. Trump removing Billions from the Park fund and handing of a small 70K check. Your protected Dunes will be gone anyway.

  24. Paul S Reply

    Why build what will soon be another abandon white elephant and ruin the lake front at the same time?

    Fix the city and some of it’s problems first!

    • Julie and Drake Reply

      A new development and fixing the city are two different objectives. Besides, sometimes it is better to tear down and build new. Ask my wife about her kitchen in our 90 year old farm house. 🙂

  25. Tom R Reply

    What! Does Pete Visclosky know about this? What about the Marquette Plan?

  26. JJ Reply

    Seriously who wrote this article hasn’t PROVIDE ANY FACTS! Throw a picture up and didn’t report what was said at the meeting nor what the representative for the Parks. As Trump would say, “Fake News”. Nothing in this article explains this project.

  27. Yuri Hoffman Reply

    Coney Island is an outdated idea and would further divide the residents for the reasons we remain. Good beaches, neighborhood restaurants, access to trails… Coney would ruin this.

    • Jesse Owens Reply

      Another person that wasn’t at the presentation. They want the Gary neighborhood restaurants to move to the waterfront. It’s not out-dated idea, I’m in NY, moved from Gary because it is DEAD there. Waterfronts are used all over the world. The drawing shows all access to trails and the beach. You people in Gary are killing it.

  28. Nick Miller Reply

    Bring it on!!! Lets get off the FORBIDDEN PLACES! http://www.forbidden-places.net/urban-exploration-gary-indiana-ghost-town#1 Anything is BETTER than this damn ugly ghost town. Great improvement! Lets grow and stop dying! Gary is

  29. Fay Myers Reply

    William Tarrant, really, a food stand and restrooms… LOL That awesome change will bring them to America’s ghost town, one of the most dangerous places in the country that used to boom with industry and is now an urban desert. … America’s ghost town is just 25 miles from downtown Chicago. They will keep going to Chicago! This brings jobs and people spending money – taxes for the city for our closing schools and bad roads. Yes, life at Gary instead of Ghosts!

  30. Jesse Owens Reply

    I moved out of Gary because it is a DEAD city. I now live in NY. Waterfronts are all over the world! This shows access to the trails and the design is completely off the beach meaning there is public access. Gary is lucky that anyone would even want to develop in a high crime and ghost town. I hope this happens for the City of Gary! Gary needs to stop living in the past.

  31. Matt Reply

    Who named this CONEY ISLAND? This is nothing like Coney Island! This be more like a Downtown Disney.

  32. Lamar Reply

    Please begin construction and stop being negative. BTW, just support. I’m tired of seeing the whole United States progress and Gary not. It is because of all of negative comments that were just posted. Things are growing over night in TX and Gary indiana has much better land, but the attitude of the posted comments will keep Gary indiana will keep it a sh** hole. I really want to move to Gary indiana because it’s a gold mine.

    • Matt Reply

      Gary is it’s own worst enemy. It doesn’t grow because of the problems. Lack of a property tax base. Crime. Poor schools. Gary only begins to grow when it fixes these problems.

      A Coney Island wanna-be isn’t going to be the solution. What hotel would ever open here for a seasonal attraction?

      • Lamar Reply

        The reason why we need this development. The Developer will want the roads fixed and remove the abandoned homes. They aren’t going to want people driving to a beautiful and fun waterfront viewing our UGLY TOWN! People want to work and live around NICE things! LOL This label of Coney Island is complete WRONG. It is a mix-use with a hotel. Marquette sure needs a hotel, especially for weddings! The ferris-wheel isn’t like Coney Island… it will have PODS, not a seats. I agree this article gives no facts. I can’t wait, I love boardwalks instead of walking on sand! My mother is excited too.

      • Lamar Reply

        Matt you really don’t get it. It is a WATERFRONT with Mix-use and is open ALL YEAR with residents living there and businesses. Even the Ferris-Wheel has enclosed pods, depending on the size, are rented out for people wanting a special occasion like a small picnic while the wheel turns. Wow that label “Coney Island” is completely WRONG. Get out in the world that person that wrote this article and Matt you have no idea what this project has so you should stop talking and ruining what is progress for Gary to get off the Ghost Town list so we can get people and business back in the area!

  33. nelson Reply

    In looking at the overall plan, I noticed a “HELIPAD” in the lower left hand corner. You got to be kidding me? People would be coming to the park in their helicopter?

    Also I noticed the pier listing “ferry, boat and jet skis’ Something missing here? Where is the boat launch, don’t you need one of these in order to get the boat and jet ski into the water? Probably just an oversight, eh?

    And are there any hotel chains expressing interest in building here? I think we need to go back to the local drawing board, have competent city representation by more than with high school diplomas… Any market research to back up the need for this type of development? Or do we even know what that is?…

    • Matt Reply

      Since you weren’t in attendance at the presentation… It was a rough draft. I don’t blame them, why invest time and money in an actual blueprint until they get the okay. It isnt a detailed blueprint but an overview. Helicopter is for people of importance, but actually, great idea for emergency care since we suck when it come to having a hospital!

  34. TONY L Reply

    Turn it sideways and build it to run south on Broadway. Kill two birds with one stone. It will be between 94 and 80. You can have base a ball and Rollercoaster too. Remodeling the Sheraton should be no problem .Bam there’s your Hotel. Sewers are already there. You don’t have to dig up the dunes. Now no more urban blight.

    • Charris Reply

      Great idea except people will be coming to live on the lake and shop/visit the lake view. Besides, we don’t know what they are actually planning since NWIGazette didn’t give any details. Its next to the Aquatorium parking lot which might means they are extending the road through there. There already is sewer for the Bath House that can be extended just by digging up the large barely used black top parking lots.

  35. Charris Reply

    I live in Chicago and at times visit my friend in Gary. I travel a great deal for my position with the Federal Government. This is a wonderful plan for Gary. I have seen great Waterfronts that are well taken care of and have been a blessing for a lot of Cities. If you are interested search “waterfronts” and forget that poor title the NWIG pasted on the image. It is a waterfront – NOT Coney Island with little shacks and stores. This has people living, shopping, offices, entertainment, and JOBS! I would move to Gary if this becomes a reality.

  36. Ed V. Reply

    The development is barely on the Dunes. There is already septic and parking there and the same utilities are located at the School. What are you people talking about? Even the roads aren’t an issue; if anything, they will be improved. People, get your heads out-of-the-sand!

  37. D Blaine Reply

    For those of you who weren’t there, this news article does not accurately portray the project in many respects. The reporter completely misrepresents the presentation by Meridian Hospitality.

    First, investment in the community. Second, respect for both the natural gifts and the history of the area. Third, creating wealth through attracting businesses which will bring career oriented people, their families, and their disposable incomes to Gary.

    This isn’t an amusement park. It is a mix of desirable housing for families, retail, and construction that will attract 21st Century firms. Better, it is highly centered around growing local food, produce, and creating a vibrant local agricultural base for Gary residents to participate in.

    The plan calls for attracting a variety of living amenities Gary needs in order to keep young residents who live here, and have grown up in Gary, to stay after finishing High School and College. Meridian outlined several ways it can help bring positive economic impact to the area. It noted how well suited Gary was for the coming Millennial Generations who desire walk-able, and bike friendly streets. Who want convenient mass transit into the City. Who want access to the beach fronts. Who want bike trails and are predisposed to nurturing the natural resources of the area instead of subjugating them.

    The plans for these parcels are to encourage families to come in live in Gary. To make Gary desirable as a year round destination. To leverage the South Shore Line for people who want to work in Chicago, yet not live there.

    This development addresses literally every point in this video shot by Marc Sims in 2014. There is a wonderful video Meridian presented depicting their plans and capabilities. I hope the City will post it soon.

    https://youtu.be/JD7oe08SbGw

    • Matt Reply

      The only part of that scenario that is correct is that people want is mass transit into the City.

      Gary needs to fix all of it’s problems before that becomes relevant.

      Walkable streets and bike paths mean nothing when crime is rampant.

      Gary would be best to continue to clear out abandoned and destroyed houses and offer the land to developers building affordable housing in clusters. Rebuild schools in the same area and heavily police the area to reduce crime. Almost treat the area like a gated community. Draw younger families into the area with the idea of affordable housing and an easy commute into the city.

      Generate tax revenue and move on to the next section of the city.

      It’s a long process and not going to be fixed by a “lifestyle community” in a dead city with no prospects for residents or visitors.

      I would also love for you to list the 21st century businesses that you think would be even possible in Gary with the workforce that exists there ….?

      • D. Blaine Reply

        Matt;
        Outside of the police state you seem to want to create, the plan actually reflects much of what you’re talking about. Creating desirable housing and living for families who want to raise a family.

        The best way to do that is to create areas where 21st Century businesses want to locate, or relocate their firms. With Indiana’s lower tax base many firms could be recruited to either move, or establish satellite offices in the area.

        Businesses? The development lends itself to attracting Millennials who are a huge demographic force. These younger adults are starting all sorts of businesses that are primed for Gary. Their demographic favors locally oriented businesses like bakeries, breweries, butcher shops that work with local farms. It is amazing the wealth that can be quickly created when the money from your purchases stays in the City, instead of going to some larger Corporate franchise. That said, there is nothing wrong with attracting Corporate brands like Marriott, Hilton, to anchor the area.

        Meridian showed a massive Greenhouse planned for opening to local entrepreneurs to grow fresh vegetables and create farm to table businesses. Of course restaurants, but this generation favors bicycles, and electric carts. The areas around Gary again lend itself to becoming a town that enjoys walking again.

        With bike paths, other regions of the country like PA is seeing a huge upsurge in cycle tourism. They are building hotels that cater to hikers and cyclists. Gary is prime for this.

        We also learned Gary has a huge fiber pipe which is very desirable for firms like Apple, Google, Facebook, and others.

        Cities like Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland are making strong rebounds doing the same things discussed by Meridian. Gary has plenty of prospects or companies like Meridian and its partners wouldn’t consider pumping 100’s of millions of dollars worth of investment into the area.

        Why would you deny the people of Gary the opportunity of having major investment pumped into the area that will create businesses who will either hire locals, or allow local citizens with a passion to grow their own business?

        • Matt Reply

          Pittsburgh and Cleveland have far more going for them than just being still mill towns. Both were historically finance, medical and higher educational centers besides their industrial base.

          Both have major universities as well as major medical and scientific research companies within their city limits. They were already there and did not grow on their own.

          They are also both far larger metropolitan areas than Gary.

          You seriously believe that Marriott or Hilton is going to locate in the city? The BEST Gary can hope for and it would be near the expressway is the travel hotel brands from either such as Fairfield Inn.

          Jobs are attracted to workforces with skills and not the other way around. Gary residents do not have the skills needed in todays jobs. Their educational attainment is atrociously low.

          As for growing businesses they are attracted to their customer target. Miller does have a small restaurant community but it’s growth is limited by it’s customer base.

          • Will Cleveland, Ohio

            Cleveland was becoming a Gary until they brought in attractions! Cleveland was struggling to keep people living in the area and businesses. You really need to stop posting since you don’t know what you are talking about! You are way off base on Cleveland, it took some time but it was because of new development and outsiders that improved Cleveland. Cleveland had its head in the dirt like you do!

  38. Matt Reply

    So this Meridian Hospitality Group has done a whole lot of nothing …..

    Their so called parent company has been a sub-contractor (communications and AV) for a number of government projects in the Maryland, Virginia, and DC area.

    So far they have built nothing .. other than proposals for a hotel in Cleveland, Gary and Little Rock.

    http://www.meridianhospitalitygroup.com/mhg_project_profiles/

    http://www.epicpg.com/

    The principals are a Brenda and Byron Miller.

    • D Blaine Reply

      Matt;
      I don’t know if you were in the presentation, but Meridian brought over 20 professionals from 7 different firms. These firms represent all the skill sets, and capital needed, in the 100’s of millions. Further, Meridian has done extensive work already from understanding the environmental and land use issues; any endangered species; historical landmarks etc. They told us in the presentation they came to Gary once a month to do site surveys, understand the town, people, businesses, and opportunities.
      Before suggesting something you don’t know, I would suggest you get a copy of the proposal and review the firms listed who traveled literally 1000’s of miles to come to the meeting and will team with Meridian. Not sure why you’re so negative.

      • Matt Reply

        Again … the firm that you have listed had done NO project. The Meridian Hospitality claims to be a developer of hotels (which hasn’t done one yet) and you think they can pull of a entire planned community in a depressed community?

        I was not at the presentation but I can see a pipe dream when I see one. Just like every other proposed “home run” that Gary has had in the last 20 years.

        Small ball … Gary needs to start with fundamental solutions that will take decades to set the City on the right path.

        How much has the City spent on the preliminary studies? How much has the City proposed to spend in incentives?

        • Gary's Voice for Change Reply

          Matt you obviously are a downer and will complain to matter what is front of you. We don’t want just a construction company coming in and throw up junk. Meridian Hospitality is a DEVELOPMENT GROUP, as you said they done a lot of Federal work. Usually Federal doesn’t post their construction. So think of it this way, I would image there is confidentiality between their clients not to advertise. Hey Matt, you are one of the reasons Gary sucks! Remember when the Jackson’s were coming to town, they didn’t own a construction company. Matt you are a DAMN IDIOT. You know NOTHING and are talking out of your butt! You are all stinky air! I’m sure you voted for Trump too – Clean Coal Jobs! Bulls**t!!

          • Matt

            Epic has been nothing more than a sub-contractor, mainly for telecommunications and A/V. Their projects are listed on THEIR website.

            Meridian has done nothing. NADA! They have a proposal in for a hotel in Cleveland.

            They have never even completed a development project. Their website says so in the details if you took the time to read.

            Lets see the financing when they issue a proposal. What incentives do they want from the city? What federal grant money will be stolen like every other Gary project?

            When the rubber hits the road it will be like every other Gary project, a whole lot of government money wasted for nothing except filling the pockets of politicians and political hacks.

            I can guarantee you will be able to add this to the long list of Gary’s follies

            The Sheraton
            The Bears Stadium
            Gary as a passenger airport
            The baseball stadium as a focus for redevelopment
            The Jackson Museum

            All while graduation hovers in the 50% range and rampant crime.

    • Lamar Reply

      Yeah so? They own two companies. EPICPG.com has a huge portfolio and construction. They state on their website they have EXPANDED to hospitality. What is your point? The own two companies – one is construction management and AV and the other is development and hospitality. As D. Blaine stated Meridian has several sub-contractors that they bring to the table. One is Elford Construction which I google has been in business 107+ years and working with this group for years. Get your facts straight. And the owners are not Brenda and Byron Miller. Their names are Brenda Miller and Byron Dillard. Your research is poor and you can’t read! But our schools do suck and are CLOSING! People like you are the reason Gary is labeled GHOST TOWN. This company must be doing well, they bring their own money! Lets hope they don’t pick up and leave because of people like you with closed-minds. They come to INVEST in Gary!!!!! You should be supporting them and I pray to God this happens for all of us!

      • Matt Reply

        and again …they haven’t developed anything. Nada Nothing!

        They claim to be working on a Cleveland hotel but the original developer is now on it’s 3rd building after Meridian claimed they had ended the project.

        Multiple articles between 2014 and December 2016 ..and not a single word about Meridian.

        http://executivearrangements.com/economy-local-businesses/waterfront-development-downtown-cleveland/

        Every single project of Epic is as of a sub-contractor. They have no experience as a developer other than a bunch of pipe dreams believed by Gary (and enriching Gary politicians)

        • Will, Cleveland Ohio Reply

          The are not a construction company. As for Cleveland, you again know jack-sh*t. Dick Pace, “Developer”, requested Meridian to bring their team to build their hotel and a school. Dick Pace has been dragging his feet for years on the Cleveland Waterfront. Once again, Matt, you don’t know the industry nor what the group has in its pipeline. What have you done for Gary… nothing but complain.

        • Alice Reply

          You know Matt you are so out of the loop on what this group has, you really should have attended THE MEETING. And NWI should have written the facts. Why are you not writing about the OTHER groups that came out to present that bring NO MONEY to the table? It better happen, Indiana just took over our schools. Next, the college will leave then what do we have? Oh, our amazing little downtown business that can’t even be open past 5 pm. I had enough of this topic and especially the idiot named Matt on here. Meridian Hospitality you are WELCOME in my book and I can’t wait for your project to become a reality! – Alice K.

      • Alice Reply

        Thanks Lamar! I pray Meridian comes to Gary. – Alice K

    • Mark Myers Reply

      Matt, i If you went on to read the website Meridian states that most their construction projects will not be listed because of privacy (Federal as you stated) and to call for more information.. FOR ANYONE that is interested in Meridian and its team (which were presented and a representative from the National Park service (Matt only writes negative and FAKE news): http://www.meridianhospitalitygroup.com/teaming-partners/
      *EB5 Global Management, LLC – Financing (Note to Gary: Financing = $$$$$)
      *Arkinetics – Architect and Quality Assurance
      *Elford, Inc. – Construction and General Contractors
      *Karpinski Engineering – Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering
      *Thorson · Baker + Associates, Inc. (TBA) – Structural Engineering
      *BCV Solutions – Environmental Engineering
      *Renascent Hospitality Group – Hotel Design, Build and Operations
      *Hard Light Consulting Group, LLC – Construction Management
      *Obverse, Inc. – Information Technology Consulting

  39. For Gary Development Reply

    Oh Matt!! Again, you definitely don’t understand the industry what the function of a DEVELOPER. Developers DEVELOP areas! DUH! A develop is the man in charge hiring companies to do their work! AKA Management! You should have attended the meeting or spoke to someone that was there OR the council like I have. This company brings to Gary engineering FIRMS, architect FIRM, National Park CONSULTANT and ADVISOR to protect the Dunes, a HOTEL MANAGEMENT Company… THEY BRING THEIR OWN FINANCE!! THEY ALSO HAVE A FUND IN PLACE TO MAINTAIN THE DUNE! Stop talking out of your butt! AGAIN the Jackson Family Center – Jackson = DEVELOPMENT COMPANY.

  40. Looking for a job! Reply

    I asked about the building where the school is located. A greenhouse that will provide for the restaurants at the Waterfront. I can’t wait to apply for a job there!! Downtown should be torn down, lots of non-historic buildings. A waterfront is a great place for them to do business. I can’t wait for the Developer to bring in their team and start work on this!

  41. Joe Miller Reply

    Thanks Matt for the research. With that said, you should have looked up the owner’s background. Byron Dillard has extensive construction and political background; in addition, he was in the oil industry. Brenda Miller has worked with Stanley Construction for seven years, 10 years real estate then went into programming. These two people came together and started their own construction management and AV firm then expanded into Development and Hospitality. They also own stock in several companies and investment groups. Isn’t the Internet a wonderful tool! I can’t be more happier that they are willing to build and invest in our city.

    • S.D. Reply

      Great! Thank you, Joe!

    • Matt Reply

      and yet they have developed a whole lot of nothing ….. not a single project.

      Anyone can claim to be a developer until it comes time to develop something.

      Epic has been nothing but a sub contractor for telecommunications and AV on a number of projects. Great job to them on that!

      But the rest is a pipe dream that the people of Gary buy into every time …. and the politicians get richer sucking their money out of the grants.

      • S.D. Reply

        You are WELCOME MERIDIAN HOSPITALITY! Matt get your head screwed on. You don’t know these people what they have done in their lives or the companies in general. Look at our own City of Gary website which is behind on posting and information. If they are doing Federal work, and I for one being military, those building are usually secured. This means they can’t post photos of state their work! If this company is accepted by the Feds – dah! They are definitely pulling great money and are trustworthy! The Government doesn’t let little unsecured companies into Secured Buildings!!! You can chew on that for a while! YES WE WANT A WATERFRONT – BRING IT ON MERIDIAN!

      • Joe Miller Reply

        Matt, you are just an idiot looking at a small portion. Why aren’t you writing about their “partners”!!!!! They MANAGE development, they are NOT CONSTRUCTION. As someone has already written… YOU ARE WELCOME MERIDIAN AND YOUR GROUP – MERIDIAN HOSPITALITY GROUP!!

      • Lamar Reply

        Thank you Mark Myers, I do believe Matt is not from Gary but a competitor! He doesn’t write about the “Meridian Group” or the owner’s past experience nor what they actually bring to the table! Also, Matt has never written about the other 6 Companies that presented! As for Cleveland Waterfront, Dick Pace hasn’t written about anyone but himself nor has he done anything for years except an Akron Mexican Restaurant. FW: Matt, i If you went on to read the website Meridian states that most their construction projects will not be listed because of privacy (Federal as you stated) and to call for more information.. FOR ANYONE that is interested in Meridian and its team (which were presented and a representative from the National Park service (Matt only writes negative and FAKE news): http://www.meridianhospitalitygroup.com/teaming-partners/
        *EB5 Global Management, LLC – Financing (Note to Gary: Financing = $$$$$)
        *Arkinetics – Architect and Quality Assurance
        *Elford, Inc. – Construction and General Contractors
        *Karpinski Engineering – Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing Engineering
        *Thorson · Baker + Associates, Inc. (TBA) – Structural Engineering
        *BCV Solutions – Environmental Engineering
        *Renascent Hospitality Group – Hotel Design, Build and Operations
        *Hard Light Consulting Group, LLC – Construction Management
        *Obverse, Inc. – Information Technology Consulting

  42. Alice Carter Reply

    Wow all the comments on a poorly written article. There were several companies presenting to Gary Redevelopment. What about the others that presented? And, people we need new development not just at the University. I such you all get your facts from the Gary Redevelopment website.

    • Alice Reply

      Good point Alice! What about the other presenters and there are still more coming next week. Why is “Matt” so against Meridian Hospitality unless he is one of the competitors! NO ONE wants to build in Gary except by the University. Waterfronts are a common development and very successful. I’m looking forward to something new and exciting coming our way no matter what Negative Matt keeps writing.

    • Matt Reply

      Gary only gets development when there is a need for it.

      It means bringing in people that can actually afford something. That means new residents that have higher education and higher incomes.

      Gary can’t graduate much more than 50% of their high school students. It only begins to change when the education does and the crime is reduced.

      Until then it is a dead end wasteland full of people that have nowhere else to go.

      • Lamar Reply

        Again, you don’t know what you are talking about when it come to bringing back a city. CHANGE! Again, I am for Meridian and the Waterfront! Everyone take care and watch out for those Gary Ghosts. Matt you keep going around and sitting in front of house after house watching it fall to the ground. That is the most excitement Gary has and with your attitude, it will be in the future until there are no people.

      • Private Citizen Reply

        Wow… you really don’t get it. People that can “afford it” don’t want to work, live or visit “your Gary”. Your Gary will just keep dying which is already labeled “worst place to live”. Just keep that positive (not) attitude you have Matt and doing what you have been doing. My vote is for the Waterfront and I enjoyed talking to the members of Meridian!

  43. Amy Guiterz Reply

    There are more presenters coming in next week. I doubt if anyone will do more than housing by the University which doesn’t improve the Miller area.

  44. JJ Reply

    Just read NWI article
    “New building to help pave ‘seamless path’ between IUN, Ivy Tech”. NWI doesn’t open that article for comments. I am very disappointed in how NWI handled the above article on the waterfront with NO FACTS nor did NWI ask any questions to the presenters. I say, presenterS (yes, plural) because the Redevelopment board had 6 presentations in one day and more still to come. NWI you suck! I will get my news from 411. People boycott this worthless paper!

  45. Ivanka T Reply

    What about this one LOL Ellen Rhodes from East Lake Management and Development Corp. from Chicago, said Gary’s Miller Beach can be turned into something that resembles Cannes, long a small hip city on the French Rivera that attracts A list celebrities to its annual ultra-exclusive namesake film festival. A French Rivera on our beach – now that is a joke!!
    LOL READ THIS! https://chicagocrusader.com/bonjour-marquette-park/

  46. TCW Reply

    Meridian brought in a 20-man team with backgrounds in architecture and engineering, public relations, financing, hotel development, construction, housing and commercial development to present their bold concept. Among them was James L. Witt, the FEMA director under President Bill Clinton. Witt Global Partners brings infrastructure and global financing expertise. Renascent Hospitality president Scott Somerville said his company would work with hotel parent companies or independent hoteliers for development and management. “We acquire the hotel franchises, develop, construct and manage it,” Scott said.

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