Freeman-Wilson touts Gary to Crown Point business group - May 13, 2016

Courtesy of The Post-Tribune • May 13, 2016

By Carrie Napoleon

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson says positive changes are taking place in her city, but more time and commitment is needed to keep things moving forward.

Freeman-Wilson spoke Friday at the Morning Business Hour hosted by Andrew Kyres of First Financial Bank in Crown Point. She drew a larger than usual crowd for the event of a cross-section of business professionals who came to hear what she had to say about the city and ask questions about its future.

The event was used as an opportunity to announce the construction of a new First Financial branch in Gary, the financial institution’s first in the city. The branch is expected to open in the Ultra Foods on Ridge Road in third quarter of this year, bank officials said.

“We take community development very seriously,” Michael Schneider, First Financial vice president, said. The site will be staffed with four to six full-time employees to start.

Freeman-Wilson said creating partnerships with businesses like First Financial and Methodist Hospitals, the education community like Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech College, and government agencies like the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Environmental Protection Agency has helped the city to take big steps forward.

She touted the completion of the runway expansion at the Gary/Chicago International Airport after years of hard work and negotiations with the railroads as a long-awaited economic driver for the city.

“We are already seeing results of this,” she said, adding she expects there will be some announcements made this year about development at the airport.

Freeman-Wilson said she has surrounded herself with a team of smart, hard-working and committed individuals who all have one goal and that is making Gary a better place to live, but that the city needs the help of its citizens to keep improving.