Gary Green Link
Department of Environmental Affairs, City of Gary
Gary, Indiana, founded in the early 20th century as a United States Steel company town, is notable for its heavy industry, railroads, and highways, but is also remarkable for the natural areas and ecological diversity that co-exist with adjacent industry. Gary, challenged by job losses and population decline, is continually seeking alternative economic development opportunities. Residents and non-residents seem unaware of the region’s unique natural resources and their potential for local recreation and ecotourism. The Gary Green Link plan addresses this with a
plan to protect natural areas, connect them with multi-use trails, and interpret Gary’s natural history and natural areas, economic history, and social history.
First, the project identifies existing natural areas within the city, proposes strategies for acquisition and protection, and recommends specific ecosystem restoration and management measures. Second, the project proposes a thirty mile multi-use trail loop within Gary that will link people to natural areas and Lake Michigan and link natural areas to each other.
Wolff Landscape Architecture, Inc. was the prime consultant, providing planning, project management, and multi-use trail planning and conceptual design services. Applied Ecological
Services (AES) was a sub-consultant providing natural area planning services including review of existing studies, field evaluation of natural areas, and recommendations for acquisition, protection, restoration, and management. UrbanWorks and McElroy Associates provided community outreach and communication. The natural area inventory and evaluation was completed, as was a draft multi-use trail alignment for the thirty mile loop within Gary and its connections to the northwest Indiana regional trail system. Project planning was completed in 2004, with funding and implementation following.