GRIP, a joint venture between Chicago's Metropolitan Planning Council and The Times Media Company, is founded on the belief that Gary's well being influences the economic climate for the entire region, says Kari Lydersen. Gary was founded in 1906 by U.S. Steel and thrived until several decades ago, when massive job losses in the steel industry catalyzed its economic downfall.
GRIP's initial proposals range from redeveloping a beachfront park to encouraging development near Indiana University Northwest. Part of the organization's challenge will be finding funding for the projects, says Lydersen, which is expected to come from a mix of regional, state and federal sources.
"Any one of those projects would cost many millions, and there is no guarantee that financing will materialize. But leaders say they are hopeful, thanks in part to federal encouragement. Ron Sims, deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has called GRIP an example of the regional planning focus favored by the Obama administration."