Gary rejects day care in historic district

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THE MORNINGSIDE HISTORIC DISTRICT is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Crusader staff report

After hearing strong opposition, the Gary Common Council on Tuesday, January 2 unanimously rejected a proposal that would put a day care center in the city’s Morningside Historic District.

By a 9-0 vote, members were united in rejecting a request for a special permit that would have allowed the center to operate in the 100 block of West 46th Avenue.

Luxury Bryant wanted to convert her garage in the Morningside District to operate a day care for at least five children. The proposal was reviewed by the Planning Commission which heard pleas from residents who did not want a day care in their neighborhood.

Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade

Built in a secluded area for middle and upper class residents during Gary’s early years, the Morningside District is a collection of stately homes that were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The area is within Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade’s 6th District. Sparks-Wade said the proposal has drawn heavy opposition from residents in the Morningside District. Council President Ron Brewer said no one spoke in favor of the day care proposal.

“The residents of the area would like it to remain the way it is,” said Richard Brown, president of the Morningside Historic District. We want to keep it as a stable residential area.”

“It’s a charmed neighborhood, and we’d like to keep it that way,” said Patricia Bower, who heads the board of the Morningside Historic District.

Bryant’s garage is part of a residential property and not zoned for business. Bryant sought a special permit from the city to operate a day care, but Gary’s Board of Zoning Appeals previously recommended city officials reject the special permit request. City officials listened.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she is willing to help day care operator Luxury Bryant to find an alternative site.

“We wanted young people like (Bryant) to come to our community and begin businesses,” she said. “We will help her find a more desirable location.”

Bryant, who works as a mental health therapist, wasn’t there at Tuesday’s meeting. Her mother Debbie Agnew and grandmother Lovie Davie were there on her behalf.

Agnew said her daughter is willing to work with the city in finding an alternative site. Agnew said 46th Avenue in the Morningside Historic District was intended to be a starter location.

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