With support from the U.S. Forest Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Legacy Foundation, Delta Institute partnered with the City of Gary and Greenprint Partners to transform the once thriving site of the five-acre Bear Brand Hosiery Co. stocking factory into a park by planting hybrid poplar trees to improve soil quality. Plans for the vacant, degraded site include the installation of public art and landscaping.
As of 2018, 300 hybrid polar trees had been planted on the site as an interim land use strategy. These hybrid poplars are expected to grow rapidly and both absorb and break-down the petroleum contamination within the soil to remediate the land for future reuse.
The planted trees will take up significant amounts of water, reducing polluted, toxic stormwater run-off into Lake Michigan while returning this vacant industrial site to productive use.