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Council members ponder future of manufacturing in Gary

city of Gary

As Gary residents continue to push back against proposed industrial developments — and the possible environmental impacts — one city council member wants to know what kind of development they would like to see.

"The same people that are remonstrating against these bad items — and let's say I agree with you: they're bad — but I would like to know something good that we could anticipate coming to Gary. And who is going to go about getting these people to come to Gary?" Council Member Clorius Lay asked during Tuesday's council meeting.

Lay acknowledged that Gary is offered projects that other communities wouldn't accept, but at the same time, he feels the city needs to increase its tax base. The most recent concern is Maya Energy's proposed solid waste facility. The company is looking to renew its permit with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

But Council Member Ronald Brewer cautions against excluding entire industries simply because they sound bad, without fully understanding what they entail. "Sometimes, these misconceptions — we can miss some opportunities that would probably be really great for our city and tax collection, also, too," Brewer said.

Council Member Cozey Weatherspoon feels that Gary has room for all types of development, including manufacturing. "You know, I think we also have to accept the fact that we are in a manufacturing environment. This city was built based upon manufacturing. It's inception was based upon manufacturing," Weatherspoon noted.

Council President William Godwin suggested asking the city's redevelopment director for ideas of appropriate development, then letting community groups offer feedback during committee meetings.