By David Denson
The Gary Community School Corporation announced this week its plans to sell 24 school properties.
Emergency Manager Pete Morikis announced the decision during a meeting Tuesday, January 14 at the Gary Career.
The announcement comes two weeks after Mayor Jerome Prince’s call for the abandoned structures to be demolished. Prince held a press conference on January 3 at the abandoned Edison school to draw attention to the problem.
The city has identified nine schools to be demolished and has ordered the Gary Community School Corporation to address the problem. The schools being targeted are Aetna, Norton, Horace Mann, Lew Wallace, Edison, Carver, Nobel Spaulding and Brunswick.
“We identified what we considered to be the most egregious instances of blight as related to our school buildings,” said Prince.
“Clearly there are other buildings in and around the city that need to be addressed, but as we recently learned there were several violent incidents that occurred with several women being victims of these crimes,” Prince continued. “
The school district recently informed city official of their intent to sell the properties. “We submitted to Mayor Prince a notice of intent. Our timelines for disposition and offers to accept bids will close on Monday, February 10 at 3:00 P.M. at West Side Leadership Academy. At that time, we will open the offers and share those, “said Morikis.
Morikis stated that last December the School district was going to make the sale of the properties a priority. “At this point we are waiting on the closing of seven properties, Horace Mann, Vohr, Emerson, Ernie Pyle, Chase and Carver.
A timeline has been set for notifying potential buyers on February 14 with February 17 set for closing. The Emergency Management team has identified 33 school owned properties as being used.
The building commissioners has set a February 3 hearing on the nine properties the city has identified as hazardous. Six of the nine identified are on the districts list to be sold. The Gary Housing Authority has expressed interest in five of the properties.
Previously the district was bared from selling the properties due to liens that had been placed on them. In 2018, the liens were lifted making them available for sale.
School officials say they were not given advance notice of the city’s planned action regarding the properties. In a statement released last week school officials stated,
“The district was not contacted by the City regarding the Building inspections or demolition prior to last week’s press conference, however, we are now in receipt of correspondence on the school demolition and look forward to connecting with City officials to discuss plan for the properties listed.”