“These homes were selected for the pilot program because they looked the best, they had four walls and a roof, which means they were less decayed,” Brown said, adding that in a deconstructed building, some 25 percent of building materials are reused, while 70 percent are recycled. The remaining 15 percent is the amount of materials that wind up unusable, he said.
The institute’s director of strategic priorities, Eve Pytel, said the group has provided training to five Gary-area contractors in the ways of deconstruction to ensure that building materials are not inadvertently demolished during the process.
Those contractors will be submitting bids to the Redevelopment Commission to see who gets the contracts to deconstruct the 12 homes in question.
Gary will receive $6.6 million of the initial amount. A team spent several months collecting data on blighted structures throughout the northwest Indiana city.
Besides demolishing vacant and abandoned homes and buildings, the federal program also provides loans to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.
Officials estimate about 4,000 blighted properties will be torn down across the state.
Gary has been called the ghost of America’s future — as budgets dry up and jobs ship overseas, there are fears that more and more of our towns will look like the ruined backdrop of Life After People. Riga hopes that instead of Gary being a harbinger of post-industrial doom, it can show the rest of the country how to reimagine an industrial city green.
The latest episode of Knope and Change, our series about women who are leading the green cities revolution, features an edited conversation with Riga about the future of Gary.
Read the entire article and the interview via Can you green a ghost town? Lauren Riga of Gary, Ind., is going to try | Grist.