Gary projects honored with special awards

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Two projects in Gary this week will receive awards from the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The Miller Spotlight Project will receive the Indiana Chapter of the American Planning Association’s 2016 Outstanding Public Outreach Award. The Livable Broadway Regional Plan will receive an Honorable Mention Award for Outstanding Plan.

The Miller Spotlight Project was launched in February of 2015. The goal of Miller Spotlight was to create a community plan that accurately catered to all spheres of the neighborhood. Since launching Miller Spotlight in February of 2015, the group of volunteers has gotten unprecedented online coverage and community engagement through a multi-platform approach to outreach. Using both digital and traditional media, as well as direct marketing, the group has created ads, flyers, videos, maps, managed thriving social media platforms and created a highly trafficked blog that keeps the community aware of the planning process. This multi-tiered approach has increased community participation in planning, ignited leadership in previously less engaged spheres and has made a significant contribution to advancing grassroots community-building in the neighborhood.

Gary’s Miller neighborhood was chosen to pilot the Legacy Foundation-sponsored Neighborhood Spotlight initiative also in 2015. Legacy Foundation created Neighborhood Spotlight as a new placed-based program for reinvesting in Lake County communities.

The Livable Broadway Regional Plan provides a future vision for the Broadway (IN 53) corridor in Gary, Merrillville and Crown Point, Indiana. The plan will assess opportunities for promoting livability within the corridor by enhancing economic development, environment, and land uses that will lead to improved bus service. The planning effort was sponsored by the Gary Public Transportation Corporation, who is responsible for transit operations. Other active participants included the cities of Gary and Crown Point and the town of Merrillville, who are responsible for land use, and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), who is responsible for the roadway. Other participating agencies include the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC), Ivy Tech, IUN, Methodist Hospitals, the Sierra Club, the Legacy Foundation, the Regional Development Authority, Everybody Counts, Indiana Parenting Association, and the Active Transportation Alliance.

The Livable Broadway Plan is funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Lake Michigan Coastal Program. It was launched in 2014 and approved by GPTC’s Board of Directors in September 2015. Since being approved, GPTC has secured federal funding for new stations and identified funding for the Broadway Rapid, a significant service upgrade. The City of Gary’s Redevelopment and Green Urbanism departments will assist in local matching funds for the new stations.

The awards will be presented during a luncheon at Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana this Friday, February 19.

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