Earline Rogers

Interests high to fill vacancies on several Gary boards and commissions

Contributed By:The 411 News

Earline Rogers, former state senator wants to join South Shore tourism board

The narrative of Gary as a place left behind because of its loss of manufacturing and on the road to abandonment does not fit the picture of a city described by candidates looking to fill vacancies on the Redevelopment Commission, the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority, and the board of the Gary Public Transportation Corp.

Instead, theirs is a picture of Gary maintaining its place as an economic engine in northwest Indiana with initiatives, both public and private.

Former Indiana State Senator Earline Rogers, among three vying to represent the city council on the South Shore CVA board told the council, “With the land-based casino, we’re on the beginning of one of our largest tourism attractions, not only to Gary, but to Lake County.”

The video shows the full March 31st meeting of the Gary Common Council Boards & Commissions committee interviewing candidates to fill the vacancies.

The city council appoints 1 member to the 21-member board of directors of the South Shore Convention & Visitors Authority.

Peggy Blackwell is president of Visit Miller Beach, a nonprofit promoting ecological tourism in the city’s Miller neighborhood. “I want to join the board to identify what’s of interest in Gary and help Gary realize the potential of its tourism assets,” Blackwell said.

Sen. Rogers said she served on the tourism board when it was first created. “I want to make certain Gary gets its fair share of attention. With my background in the Indiana legislature, I think it would be an aid to get done things that hadn’t been done before.”

Taryl Bonds, director of the Gary Housing Authority said he wants to join the tourism board because of the development coming to downtown Gary and transit-oriented development coming with the South Shore Rail double track construction. Bonds said those developments will create opportunities for the housing, retail, hospitality and leisure industries. “I believe my experiences in economic development can help guide the convention authority.”

The council appoints 2 members to the 5-member Gary Redevelopment Commission. Four candidates were interviewed.

Current appointees Adam Hall and Jeremiah King applied to remain on the commission.

Juana McLaurin, a former Gary Fire Department paramedic applied. “I am very interested in the future of Gary and how land is deciphered. Land is power. And we live near one of the largest fresh bodies of water around. Water is an issue. I heard someone say ‘The next war will not be fought over oil, it will be about water.’”

Anthony Manuel said he wants to join the commission to “help those who want to invest in our city,” the same thing he does as a banker with First Financial. Manuel said he wants to help those who make the same decisions for the City of Gary. “I am very passionate about what I do every day and I want to bring that same passion to the commission.”

Sharon Levels applied to remain on the GPTC board. Levels said the commuter busses are going electric, new routes will operate for the casino, and plans are in place to construct a new headquarters on Broadway.

Story Posted:04/04/2021

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