Fellowship to drive Gary, Michigan City economic momentum

GARY / MICHIGAN CITY, IND. – The cities of Gary and Michigan City have been selected to participate in the Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) Fellowship, a new program launched by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) in 2023. The inaugural program will connect 65 host sites nationwide with diverse practitioners and leaders with the passion, skills, and vision to create new ways of doing economic development.  

The cities of Gary and Michigan city were chosen from over 500 host applications. As hosts, they will share one dedicated fellow (fully funded for 2.5 years from the ERC program) who will serve as a field catalyst to enhance, strengthen, and coordinate relationships and local efforts alongside the host community.  

In Gary, the ERC fellow will work with the City of Gary’s Redevelopment Commission to engage local stakeholders, entrepreneurs, residents, and prospective developers in the development and branding of the new downtown Gary, which is part of the newly established Transit Development District (TDD).

“This is a groundbreaking partnership with the Economic Development Administration,” said Mayor of Gary Eddie Melton, “I would like to thank Christopher Harris, our director of redevelopment, for his hard work in securing this fellow through this national competitive process. We have some transformational projects planned for the City of Gary with the passage of Senate Bill 434. The funding from this legislation will allow us to build a new multimodal station and demolish some significant blighted structures that will make way for future development. Having this fellow will be a catalyst for the reinvestment and revitalization of our downtown Broadway Corridor.”

"We are excited to be matched with an experienced fellow through the ERC Fellowship program” said Christopher Harris, Director of Redevelopment for the City of Gary, "Our Fellow will be responsible for gathering key stakeholders to rebrand our city's financial backbone and primary thoroughfare, Broadway, from our planned intermodal station in downtown to our city limits. Encouraging redevelopment efforts along this Corridor will have a multiplier effect on Gary's tax base and its narrative. We are making GPTC's Livable Broadway Plan a reality through this Fellowship opportunity.”  

In Michigan City, the ERC fellow will focus on the Vibrant Michigan City Playbook that was established through a community-centered process to ignite progress in the East, West and Mid-town areas of the city. The Economic Development Corporation Michigan City is serving as the hosting agency for the city’s fellow.  

“What a great opportunity for Michigan City to be one of the very few cities in the country to receive a fellow to allow us to push our Vibrant Michigan City agenda forward for our citizens,” said Mayor of Michigan City Angie Nelson Deuitch “Our citizens helped us to create that agenda, which impacts not only the west and east sides of town, but all of Michigan City. So, we are just thrilled to have a fellow working with us to help us fulfill our goals.”

The ERC Fellowship was launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). It is led by the International Economic Development Council and supported by 6 other national economic development organizations. The program is designed to build capacity in some of the hardest-hit and most economically distressed areas across the United States while cultivating the next generation of economic development leaders.  

“ERC is more than a fellowship; it is a testament to the power of collaboration and strategic partnerships deeply needed to produce lasting social and economic impact,” said Nathan Ohle, President & CEO of IEDC. “By investing in capacity building and leadership development, facilitating knowledge sharing and partnerships, the ERC program will set the stage for the future of economic development and a new age of collaboration in the economic development field.”

About City of Gary Redevelopment Commission

The City of Gary Redevelopment Commission is a public body that supports innovative solutions for rebuilding and strengthening communities in Gary, Indiana. The Commission works to make Gary safe, livable, and clean for its residents by encouraging progressive land use decisions, improving city processes, and spearheading development plans. The Commission also collaborates with partners to study, analyze and implement solutions to improve the city’s physical environment. For more information, visit www.gary.gov/redevelopment.

About the Economic Development Corporation Michigan City

The Economic Development Corporation Michigan City is committed to growing and attracting new industry and business to the community as well as strengthening existing business. EDCMC services, programs, and one-on-one assistance clearly provide the optimum business environment — a place where commerce and industry can prosper and grow. EDCMC merges the right mix of resources, including city government, community members, and the expertise of business leaders. Exclusive incentive packages and unique natural resources make Michigan City, Indiana, the place to build or expand. For more information, call (219) 873-1211 or visitwww.edcmc.com.

Media Contacts:  

City of Gary

Erika Blackwell  

cell: (219) 292-1251  

em:eblackwell@gary.gov

Economic Development Corporation Michigan City  

Lesly Bailey  

cell: (219) 707-9250

em: leslybailey@gmail.com

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