Tag Archives: City Hall

City of Gary Says Sheraton Project is Neighborhood Stabilization

19 Dec

by Ken Davidson

At last night’s meeting of the Gary Redevelopment Commission, the Board approved a contract for environmental monitoring of the Sheraton Hotel project. The contract was awarded to Shrewsberry and Associates, LLC of Indianapolis. Shrewsberry and Associates has strong ties to State democrats, including former Chairman of the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee William Crawford. Crawford came under fire for not disclosing his financial interests with the Firm when he was appointed to Ways and Means. Shrewsberry no longer lists its Board of Directors on its website or in public filings that are readily available.

The original Request for Proposals for the demolition called for the contractor to include asbestos remediation and monitoring within the proposal. This additional cost was calculated into the bids submitted by others who were not aware that the Board would later hire another firm and pay that firm separately.

All of this is not unusual for Gary. Although the above is questionable, at best, the Gazette receives reports of such irregularities on a semi-consistent basis. What makes this proposal astounding is how the City apparently plans to pay for the additional cost. The Gazette has learned that the City has included the Sheraton Property in the 2014 Neighborhood Stabilization Plan.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) was established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. Through the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed, abandoned and short-sale homes, the program’s goals is being realized.

The grant information provided by the City appears to reference this purpose:

[NSP] appropriates $2,717,859 for the purpose of assisting in the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes.The grant program is commonly referred to as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

The Times of Northwest Indiana Legal Notice 12-19-2013

The Notice goes on, however, to list the “neighborhood surrounding the old Sheraton Hotel and its adjoining garage located at 465 Broadway” as an area of additional need. The Sheraton is not only a commercial property, it lies in the major commercial zone of the City. Sitting between City Hall and a Township owned office building, the structure is blocks from any residential structure. The neighborhoods that SHOULD receive relief under the program will not receive the funding intended for them. In fact, it seems likely that Gary will end up repaying another very large grant to the Federal Government.

With 10,000 abandoned homes, one would think that every cent of the NSP funds would go toward rehabilitation of residences.

FBI Visits LakeStation IN.

15 Nov

FBI agents arrived at the office of Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist on Friday. Federal investigators had subpoenaed documents from Lake Station’s Board of Works. Sources say the computers were removed from the building and at least Three FBI agents were seen going into City Hall and talking to the Mayor.
In February, the State Board of Accounts audit ordered Soderquist’s stepdaughter Miranda Brakley , former court employee, To repay the city $13,130, money she wrongly received after she was fired in 2012. Miranda Brakey was a deputy court clerk responsible for collecting bond payments for the Lake Station. In 39 cases she neglicted to deposit The Funds totaling $16,464. A week after she was fired, the Lake Station City Council, moved two deputy positions from City Court Judge Christopher Anderson’s budget to the Clerk-Treasurer’s purview and Brakley was rehired. She received $468 for seven days vacation and $12,661 for unused compensatory and sick time even thought she only had 30 minutes of vacation remaining . Two weeks later, Lake County Superior Court Judge Calvin Hawkins issued a temporary restraining order against the Brakley’s rehiring…. more to follow later.

City of Gary to Host Obamacare Townhall Meeting

30 Oct

The City of Gary will host an Affordable Healthcare Act Townhall Meeting, Monday, Nov. 4 at 5:30p.m.at the Genesis Convention Center. A panel of experts will share updates about Obamacare and how to enroll. Panelists include State Rep. Charlie Brown, Denise Dillard of Methodist Hospitals, Dr. Janet Seabrook of Community HealthNet, and David Roos of Covering Kids & Families.

The City will also be hosting enrollment sessions in Nov. and Dec. so that residents can come to City Hall to sign up for coverage. See flyer attached for enrollment dates at City Hall.