The Gary Chamber of Commerce will feature the city's next mayor at its first luncheon of the year on Jan. 8
Melton won the Democratic primary for the 2023 Gary mayoral election with 58.9% of the 10,790 votes cast. He won 95% of the 6,702 votes in the general election. His Republican opponent was Andrew Delano.
Gary residents have shown their impatience for a better future at the voting booths, having replaced two incumbent mayors in the last four years. Melton will be the 22nd mayor of Gary.
Melton will take over the reins of City Hall this January, upsetting Mayor Jerome Prince with a campaign promising bold changes. He resigned his state Senate seat Dec. 5 to prepare for his new role.
“We have to make sure every neighborhood has access to quality parks,” Melton said.
He will strive to give city police and fire departments up-to-date equipment and technology as well as work with local vocational schools to recruit new public safety workers.
“The Gary/Chicago International Airport is primed for success,” he said. “I’ve already spoken with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, and we hope to work together to get the best impact with the (airport) compact we have with them.”
He also would like to develop Gary’s Buffington Harbor on Lake Michigan for warehousing, distribution and logistics centers.
He also is lobbying the state to build a convention center on Interstate 80/94.
“There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to attract more revenue around the Hard Rock Casino,” he said. The casino is the state’s most popular, according to reports from the Indiana Gaming Commission.
Melton said he also has been working closely with the Regional Development Authority to develop downtown in conjunction with the Transportation Development District around the South Shore’s Metro Center.
“We have robust plans to grow the downtown’s population,” Melton said.
The chamber luncheon is at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 8 at Marquette Park Pavilion, 1 N. Grand Blvd. Melton will share his vision for the city and the economic outlook for the business community. Cost is $50 a person by calling 219-885-7407.
— Freelancer Bill Dolan contributed to this report.
Read our story about the Future of Gary in the December-January issue of Northwest Indiana Business Magazine here.