I drove through the WORST parts of Gary Indiana This is what I saw

24 Mar 2022

This was dangerous Gary might be the most rundown place I've ever seen In this video I drove north on I-65 from the Lafayette area to the city of Gary Indiana one of the worst places you can live in the country It was a clear day with highs in the mid 50s and a recent snowfall had already melted The day was Saturday December 20 2019 and it was about 1 in the afternoon As I pulled into Gary it was immediately clear that this rundown city in northwest Indiana would resemble the slum that I had written about in the past but had not yet seen firsthand What was surprising though was it wasn t AS bad as I had thought it would be Of course there were some very bad areas which we ll see shortly But the dangerous riff raff which is notorious among all dangerous regions was still indoors It s become clear that in order to avoid confrontations I must drive these dangerous neighborhoods in the daytime After all a somewhat to do white man with a camera on top of his Jeep doesn t necessarily blend in And the rows and rows of slums that I had seen pictures of are slowly disappearing as Gary like other struggling communities was slowly being turned back to nature We ll begin by driving through downtown Gary and visit a housing project and then maneuver through the worst streets I could find through online searches forums and by zig zagging throughout the city for a number of hours on this unusually warm winter afternoon Before I headed to the projects and then on to the worst parts of Gary I drove Main Street in downtown Gary which was grimy and forlorn I wanted to head south on Connecticut Street and head towards Gary s more infamous areas the Dorie Miller Housing Project This will be my first stop but as you ll see I didn t stay long Here s the Dorie Miller Housing Project Now I ve been to some really bad areas before and I am rarely intimidated but the vibe I was getting here made it VERY clear that I stood out and it just wasn t safe for me to be driving through these projects So I left quickly Perhaps if i come back I ll venture deeper into Dorie Miller s bowels The next stop was an area that online research indicated would be a really rundown area A slum if you will That s the way I went I was not disappointed Not only was this pretty much the worst part of Gary that I witnessed but like many other ghettos I ve toured there was a lot of open space - where homes which once proudly stood had been leveled There were many open fields or wooded areas which looked even more hopeless with the early winter brown tint There wasn t really much of anything in Gary that was green Gary s population was once nearly 180 000 That was in 1960 Like other rust belt cities in the region it was a restructuring of the steel industry which hit this city hard Now the city is a shell of its former self with a population of 80 000 people It s estimated nearly one-third of all houses in this city located just 20 minutes south of Chicago are unoccupied or abandoned Upon a little more research I came across the dollar lot program something I hadn t heard of before For a buck you can buy a home like this as long as you fix it up and live there for 5 years and have a decent job Apparently the program is limited to certain homes and there s a waiting list Gary is fighting blight in other ways Besides just straight up knocking down large swaths of homes some of the larger buildings downtown we saw earlier will one day be turned into ruin gardens The plan isn t to just demolish the entire building but to remove the most fallen down parts of buildings and leave the rest of the buildings there encouraging gathering points where people can plant gardens put in benches and tour Gary s history Gary is challenged for sure While many lament areas like this as democratic strongholds that won t encourage growth or incentivize the population to take initiative and fend for themselves there s been millions set aside to help this mess Alliance Steel plans to open a new 35 million facility HMD Trucking recently announced plans to build a 6 million trucking depot set to create 500 jobs 5 million more in state funds have been set aside to address blight A plan to revitalize the waterfront areas is in the works and Gary s trainyards and direct connection to Chicago are being restored and rebuilt to encourage more tourism to the area But we re a LONG way from that Can Gary rebound Perhaps But it s going to take more than millions of dollars in band aids The people who live here are going to have to decide they want change and do the hard work themselves At one point I was way too exposed off in a far corner of town with no help nearby I almost became trapped in an alley due to the debris and narrow roadways It was time to leave Gary before I became stranded or approached

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