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Gary lands $8 million tech development with eye on combating digital divide

Photo caption: Fiber Smart House rendering

Renovated historic Gary Union Station to house 10,000 sq ft Fiber Smart House, groundbreaking Aug. 23

The City of Gary and national telecommunications development firm Digital Equity™, LLC announced the development of an $8 million Fiber Smart House on August 17, 2023, kick starting a concerted, multi-phase effort to create a tech community in Northwest Indiana.

The 10,000 square-foot Fiber Smart House will usher in the city’s tech revival with an Aug. 23 groundbreaking ceremony.

“Our city has a proud history and a bright future, and this development is as symbolic as it is significant,” said Mayor Jerome Prince. “Choosing the iconic Gary Union Station as the home for this project is emblematic of where we have been and our vision for where we will go next. The establishment of the Fiber Smart House is a key first step toward leveling the digital playing field for our community and making Gary the Region’s launch point for this digital equity movement and technology hub in Northwest Indiana.”

Opened in 1910, Gary Union Station was formerly designated one of the 10 Most Endangered Places in Indiana and was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2019. The rehabilitation of the once bustling depot has been the vision of Tyrell Anderson, local real estate renovator, preservationist and President of the Decay Devils, which owns the building.

“When we took on the renovation of the Gary Union Station in 2018, we never dreamed it could become a multi-purpose technology and business hub focused on developing the next generation of high-tech workforce,” Anderson said.

“This is beyond our wildest imagination, and we are so happy for Gary.” “The tech field is the future of Indiana’s workforce, and I believe Northwest Indiana is the perfect place for it to boom,” said Indiana Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The Fiber Smart House will be a brick-and-mortar space to link the tech community with opportunities for workforce development and training-up the next generation of tech workers in advanced technology careers. This is a vital first step in changing wealth outcomes for generations.”

Set to open its doors in the fall of 2024, the Fiber Smart House will be available to the public as a stateof-the-art technology workforce and educational training hub for residents and will serve as a network operations center and fiber access point for large networks. It will offer business owners the opportunity to incubate and obtain resources to grow, create a community of nonprofits and partner with higher education institutions to build pipelines for job placement in the tech sector. The Fiber Smart House will also offer a variety of critical services for Gary residents, including security and public safety emergency services.

“Cities across the U.S. have seen a direct correlation between lack of broadband access and limiting economic opportunity,” said Dr. Linda Lopez, Managing Member of Digital Equity™, LLC. “This building is the perfect location to help provide essential services to city residents, and we are proud to be associated with the city of Gary.”

The Aug. 23 groundbreaking event will take place at 10:30 a.m. CT with remarks from Lt. Governor Crouch, Mayor Prince, State Senator and incoming Gary Mayor Eddie Melton and Gary Common Council President, William Godwin.

For updates and information, please contact Kevin Loughery at (317) 523-5800 or [email protected] or Chelsea Whittington at 219-712-3182 at [email protected].

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