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Edison School in Gary; vacant and vandalized

Edison and Ivanhoe headed for the wrecking ball

Contributed By:The 411 News

Gary school district transfers properties to city for demolitions

The last time a Gary school was demolished was Froebel High School in 2005. The school closed in 1979, undergoing 26 years of vacancy and vandalism.

The transfer of 2 unused school buildings from the Gary Community Schools Corporation to the City of Gary is a move to make sure that doesn’t continue to happen with Edison, 5400 W. 5th Avenue, and Ivanhoe, 5700 W. 15th Avenue.

At its Wednesday, October 7 meeting, the Gary Redevelopment Commission accepted the transfer of both school’s deeds from the school corporation. A.J. Bytnar, director of the city’s Redevelopment Department told the commission the aim is to demolish both properties, make the land available for redevelopment and a return to Gary’s property tax base.

Edison and Ivanhoe were on the list of 24 properties the school district offered to bidders at the start of 2020. The City of Gary placed bids of $1 plus cost of demolition on Aetna Elementary, Brunswick Elementary, Nobel Elementary, Edison Elementary, Wirt-Emerson VPA, and the Deep River Nature Center.

Ridding the city’s landscape of vacant school buildings was the first initiative of Mayor Jerome Prince when he took office in 2020.

At his first press conference of the year on the grounds of Edison, Prince said, "When I ran for office I promised to lead the way on eliminating blight. Today we take our first step in doing just that. I asked our building commissioner to issue 9 citations of our Unsafe Building Ordinance. This is more than just blight but an issue of public safety."

Ten schools – Norton, Emerson, Horace Mann, Lew Wallace, Edison, Ernie Pyle, Carver, Nobel, Spaulding and Brunswick – were initially identified by the administration as violating the city's unsafe building codes.

Ernie Pyle and Emerson were removed from that list after the Gary Housing Authority notified the city of its interest in redeveloping those properties.

The school district’s deed transfer restricted the city from redeveloping either property as a school.

Story Posted:10/09/2020

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