Crusader staff report
Hundreds of students protested at a Gary Common Council meeting on Wednesday, March 7 over a proposed $59 million solid waste plant near the Steel City, located at 2650 W. 35th Ave.
The proposal calls for the facility to be within 96 feet of the school. Teachers and students learned of the proposal two weeks ago. After a hearing last week, they returned for another meeting with city officials, who held the proceeding at the Genesis Convention Center.
Principal Katie Kirley was among 200 protestors who wanted to make sure city officials knew of their opposition.
The Common Council in May 2016 Common Council was told the Maya Energy facility would shred paper, which would then be mulched, then sold off to entities that could turn it into sources of energy. Councilwoman LaVetta Sparks-Wade, D-6th, said Maya Energy officials had misrepresented the project to them during discussions. She said she’d like to see the Common Council reconsider the matter at some future date. Sparks-Wade said she wondered about the number of jobs the facility might bring to Gary residents.
There were no Maya Energy representative at the meeting and a call for comment from Jim Ventura was not returned Wednesday.
Rinzer Williams, an attorney for the Gary Common Council, said there are provisions in city codes that would permit council members to reconsider the issue. The zoning measures were approved by the council in May 2017.
Williams said that Councilman Ron Brewer has not indicated to him that the council will resurrect the proposal, but that doesn’t mean the council will discuss the issue in the future.