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about Gary

Gary is a city located in Lake County in northwest Indiana in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 102,746. It borders Lake Michigan and is known for its large steel mills, emissions from which are often visible from Chicago across the lake. In the Chicagoland area, Gary is often reputed to have a distinctive odor due to its pollution, and is the target of many jokes and comments. The large sign upon entering Gary from the west on Interstate 80-- "THE GARY SEWAGE TREATMENT DISTRICT WELCOMES YOU"-- does little to discourage these jokes.

The city was founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation as the home for its new plant. The city was named after the chairman of U.S. Steel, Elbert H. Gary. Gary had one of the nation's first African American mayors, Richard G. Hatcher.

Gary's fortunes have risen and fallen with those of the steel industry. In the 1960s, Gary entered a downward spiral of decline brought on by layoffs at the steel plants. Contrary to popular belief, the losses of jobs in steel are more due to improved technology than to imports. Steel production peaked at US Steel's Gary works in the early 1990s, it just took fewer people to produce that steel. As unemployment increased, so did crime, taxes, and property abandonment.

Gary's downtown is virtually empty. Vacant stores have murals painted on their windows depicting what they once sold. "Painted on the shuttered Palace Theater is a scene from some elegant memory: a ticket seller in a bow tie and a crowd of customers, some in slinky gowns, milling in a lobby." (New York Times, November 30, 2003)

Before his legal troubles, Michael Jackson promised to build a performing arts center for Gary. It is now doubtful that this will ever come to pass.

Gary has been in the news in connection with politicking over the construction of a new airport for Chicago. Because the Gary airport is closer to downtown Chicago than the other proposed site for a third Chicago airport at Peotone, Illinois, some have argued that building a new airport at Peotone is not necessary, and that money would be better spent on improving the Gary airport. This plan is backed by the Mayors of Gary and Chicago, while the Illinois state government is in favor of construction at Peotone. Tax revenues from a new airport at Peotone would go to the Illinois state government, while those from an expanded Gary airport would go to a regional airport authority, and thus to the cities of Chicago and Gary.

Gary geography

Gary is located at 41°34'51" North, 87°20'44" West (41.580786, -87.345449).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 148.3 km² (57.2 mi²). 130.1 km² (50.2 mi²) of it is land and 18.2 km² (7.0 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 12.25% water.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Gary, Indiana".

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