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Anchor tenant pulls out of Gary’s Union Station renovation

DECAY DEVILS AT the August 2023 ribbon cutting ceremony.

Tyrell Anderson, Decay Devils President, announced the renovation of Gary’s Union Station “is on pause.”

“Unfortunately, we’ve had to face the reality that we’ve lost our anchor tenant, Digital Equity, and as a result, our rehab plans are currently on pause. While this news is not easy to share, we want to approach it with transparency and a positive outlook,” Anderson said in an email, Monday.

In August, a ribbon cutting was held at Union Station launching the Decay Devils and Digital Equity partnership. The collaboration with Tom Dakich’s Digital Equity promised an $8 million Union Station restoration and revival as the Fiber Smart House, a technology center.

Dakich is a Managing Member of Digital Crossroad, a data center in Hammond.

The plan was for Fiber Smart House to become an official fiber optic jobs training center, teaching how to make and lay fiber optic cables, which carry more data at a faster speed and without the data loss seen in copper wire cables.

Earlier, the Gary city council had approved a request from then Gary Mayor Jerome Prince to allocate or set aside $4.5 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds for broadband infrastructure improvements.

In November as his term was ending, Mayor Prince asked the city council, in Council Pending Ordinance 2023-82, to approve the spending of the $4.5 million for broadband improvements.

The year ended without the city council taking action. At its last meeting in 2023, the council voted to table the ordinance and let the incoming administration of Mayor Eddie Melton decide how to spend the funds.

Anderson was disappointed by the council’s move. “This project is directly related to the council decision to sit on the $4.5 million dollars. Those funds were earmarked for our tenant. In return, our tenant would rehab Union Station and maintain it. Since the city will not be doing their work, Digital Equity will not have a need to help rehab Union Station.”

“As for us, we are meeting with potential partners this month,” Anderson added. “We are looking to raise the funds for the rehab independently. This is the third time a Union Station restoration project has failed since 2002. We want to see this project through.”

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