Gary officials secure, approve state funding to clean 2 illegal dumping sites

Gary officials secure, approve state funding to clean 2 illegal dumping sites

The Gary Common Council recently approved more than $500,000 in grant funding to address two illegal dumping sites, which Gary Mayor Eddie Melton said he worked to secure last year.

The Gary Common Council approved a $508,678.08 grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to clean up and secure the illegal dumping sites at 1100 North Clark Road and 890 Chase Street in a 9-0 vote at its May 21 meeting.

The money will go toward cleaning and securing, which includes fencing, the two sites, said Chief of Staff Ellis Dumas.

Melton said after he won the general election last year, IDEM informed him and Dumas that the department was in the process of citing the city about $800,000 for failing to address legacy dumping sites.

Melton said he asked IDEM officials if there was something the city could do, and the IDEM officials suggested city officials apply for a grant.

“That was really exciting for us, being that we weren’t even in office yet, to be able to start that conversation with a state agency, ” Melton said. “We’re not just stopping at addressing these two sites. We’re developing a strategy and a plan to address illegal dumping altogether.”

The illegal dumping site at 1100 North Clark Road will soon be cleaned up following the Gary Common Council’s approval of a Indiana Department of Environmental Management grant May 21. (Alexandra Kukulka/Post-Tribune)

Within the first 30 days of his administration, Melton said city officials applied for the IDEM grant to clean up the two sites. With the council’s approval, Melton said city officials are in the process of working on the details to begin the cleanup process.

Jim Nowacki, a Gary resident and one of the city’s largest landowners, addressed the council to share his concerns with a contractor using the site around 890 Chase Street — the old Bucko Asphalt site — as an illegal dumping area.

Andy Young, who is in the midst of a court battle with the city of Gary filed in 2005 against his salvage yard Andy’s Truck and Equipment Co. for violating local ordinances and public nuisance, also sent an email to the Post-Tribune this month about the illegal dumping at 890 Chase Street. Young said he told Gary officials about the dump site in 2020.

Gary Council President Tai Adkins, D-4th, said the council was recently made aware of the dumping site at 890 Chase Street. City leaders are working hard to address illegal dumping at the 890 Chase Street location and throughout the city, which includes an illegal dumping site on 11th Avenue.

“They are making sure that they get down to the bottom of what should’ve happened in the past and trying to rectify and mitigate this issue, not only at that location but any other locations where this is occurring across the city. We will not have it,” Adkins said.

At the meeting, Melton said his administration is “very adamant” about cleaning up and securing illegal dumping sites.

“This is something that came to us as a transitioning administration in terms of various sites that are blatantly being dumped on,” Melton said. “This is a very important issue as we look to redevelop and build up this city and restore that pride and respect.”