National Guard helping demolish abandoned Gary buildings

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GARY, Ind. — Indiana National Guard crews are back in Gary helping to demolish abandoned buildings around the city.

Gary mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said to tear down all of the city’s 6500 abandoned buildings, it would cost more than $100 million.

The guard is helping save the city hundreds of thousands.

A crew of eight guard members, made up of engineers, construction workers and carpenters will spend about 90 days taking down about 20 blighted buildings.

The only cost to the city is removing and disposing the debris.  Otherwise, the equipment and labor is provided by the National Guard.

U.S. Senator Todd Young said the idea was sparked when he was driving around Gary with the mayor and saw all of the abandoned properties.  He knew the National Guard had helped with tear-downs the past, and he helped get the guard involved in Gary.

City spokeswoman LaLosa Burns says the National Guard's involvement frees up at least $100,000 in the city's demolition budget.

City officials say its demolition program has torn down about 60 buildings so far this year, with plans to knock down nearly 20 more by year's end.



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