Mayor wants Gary Schools to demolish abandoned buildings
GARY, Ind. (AP) — The new mayor of Gary wants the city’s school corporation to demolish 10 shuttered schools amid growing concerns that they have become havens for crime.
Mayor Jerome Prince directed his building commissioner, Kenneth Williams, to hold a hearing Feb. 3 on the matter, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported Friday.
If the hearing body determines the 10 schools are unsafe, Prince said he believes the Gary Community School Corp. will be legally required to demolish the buildings by March 5.
Peter Morikis, the school corporation’s emergency manager, said “we look forward to connecting with city officials to discuss plans for the listed properties.”
Police discovered a homicide victim inside one of the abandoned schools, Norton Elementary, in November. They have been hit by vandalism for years, and many have been targets of arson or accessed by squatters and gangs.
The financially troubled school corporation was placed under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2017 after trustees repeatedly failed to match the district’s spending to its declining revenue and racked up more than $100 million in debt.