GARY, Indiana — Demolition crews are almost done tearing down a Gary hotel that's been abandoned for nearly 30 years.
The $1.8 million demolition is scheduled to be complete by the end of the week, The (Munster) Times (http://bit.ly/1sd31Ld ) reported. The site of the old 12-story Sheraton Hotel should be clear of rubble and ready for its eventual conversion into a green space at the end of the month, according to Brenda Scott-Henry, Gary's director of green urbanism and environmental affairs.
The new environmental effort in Gary will be funded by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant and additional money set aside in the budget, Scott-Henry said. The city will seek public input on the green infrastructure through upcoming community meetings, she said.
"As we're coming close to winter, we don't want to put our best seeding out there and then it doesn't take," Scott-Henry said. "Right now what we're just going to do is establish a grade so we can start planning for the green infrastructure installation probably about early spring."
In the meantime, improvements will be made to a nearby city parking lot so it can also serve as a public space and stormwater management system, she said.
The demolition is part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative announced by President Barack Obama in January. Gary and six other cities were selected for the federal program designed to spark economic growth and development.
Crews began the demolition process in April by removing asbestos from the building.
The 300-room hotel opened in 1968 as a Holiday Inn and later was purchased by Sheraton. It has been closed since 1985.
Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com
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