Gary to get $6.7M in federal grants for Means Manor flooding project, trail, airport, police

GARY, Ind. (WLS) -- A multi-million dollar federal grant is coming to Gary, Indiana, and a big chunk of that money will help alleviate flooding problems in one area of town.

The Means Manor neighborhood on Gary's south side is a planned community from the 1950s with a flooding problem made worse by spring rains. Officials say that problem and many more are going to be solved by new federal dollars aimed at Gary.

Four federal grants were unveiled Wednesday totaling nearly $6.7 million for a range of needed projects:
- $3.5 million to replace aging sewage infrastructure
- $2 million for equipment at the Gary Airport
- $620,000 to extend the Marquette Greenway Trail west into Hammond
- $500,000 for new technology to help the Gary Police Department

At the bottom of a Means Manor street, the funding was greeted with surprise.

"I feel great about that because right now my basement is in flood stage," resident Arnita Jones said. "All the time I can't have anything down there, because it will come up through drains, it'll come up through sinks."

The funds will also ensure more wastewater is treated locally at the Gary Sanitary District wastewater treatment plant rather than getting dumped into the Little Calumet River.

"Ultimately it is about quality of life or quality of water, which amounts to quality of life, for not only Gary residents, but that is going to impact the entire region," Gary Mayor Jerome Prince said.

Residents said the announcements made them feel heard for the first time in a long time.

Airport boosters said new equipment will make the Gary/Chicago terminal a bigger player in the air cargo and logistics business - part of "reimagining" Gary.

"What's important is that the city, the administration now is going to be able to create economic development be able to create opportunity for businesses to come in and relocate because they have more capacity," Rep. Frank J. Mrvan, D-IN-1st District.

The police money will go to more body cams and building advanced data storage facilities.

"Growing up in this town was really good for me," resident Jeffrey Bess said. "It was a wonderful time and you see how it is now, it hurts. So I am glad to see them putting money into it."

"That's how we do it in Gary," resident Jarrett Ward said. "We endure in Gary. We go through a lot and we come together and we always make the best out of it."
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