Positioned on the Lake Michigan shoreline, the city of Gary emphasizes both natural splendor and the community’s steel mill history. As climate change accelerates—with more frequent extreme weather events—this coastal city is vulnerable to flooding, which can discharge pollutants from stormwater runoff into natural habitats and tributaries—eventually leading back to the Lake.
Delta Institute and the City of Gary have partnered for more than two decades on more than 10 separate environmental projects that have preserved water quality, reduced flooding risk, and planned for a more resilient future for the City, residents, and local natural habitats.
Delta partnered with the City of Gary and Greenprint Partners to transform the vacant Bear Brand Factory property into a park by planting over 300 trees that would improve soil quality on the degraded site. Now, the property is filled with cottonwood trees, spirea bushes, flowers, and grassy paths complemented by murals from local artists seeking to bring beauty and culture.
Our work includes Delta’s Gary Green Infrastructure Plan, a two-year project focused on assisting the City of Gary with planning and implementing Green Infrastructure (GI). With our partners, Delta developed a GI Mapping Tool, city-wide Suitability Analysis, a Zoning Ordinance, a Stormwater Impact Financial Analysis, a prioritized project list, and GI management strategies. This plan will play a significant role in how the city uses GI strategies to regulate land use, advance development projects, manage stormwater, control sewer overflow problems, and decrease pollution.
Another example of our resiliency efforts in Gary is the transformation of the former site of the Bear Brand Hosiery Co. stocking factory into a park by planting hybrid poplar trees to improve water and soil quality. Working with partners, more than 300 hybrid poplar trees were planted and are expected to grow rapidly while absorbing and breaking down the petroleum contamination within the soil. These planted trees will take up significant amounts of water, reducing stormwater runoff into Lake Michigan.
Delta Institute and the City of Gary are committed to a a resilient, thriving future that all Gary’s residents—and those across the greater Midwest—deserve.
CEO, Delta Institute
P.S. Consider that a $150 contribution can underwrite the cost to plant and maintain a stormwater tree, which can reduce thousands of gallons of stormwater from entering watersheds and the Great Lakes. Your gift can make a big impact!