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AARP AARP States Indiana Livable Communities

Team Gary celebrates historic downtown, technology investment

UPDATE: The Gary and Fort Wayne Digital Equity Bootcamps have been postponed. We'll have more information soon!

AARP Indiana’s Team Gary was on hand to celebrate an $8 million investment in the city’s downtown core – an investment that could mean better digital connections for older Hoosiers.

Digital Equity, LLC is building a 10,000-square-foot facility called the Fiber Smart House. This facility will be a connecting node for fiber networks, as well as provide workforce training. It will be housed in Gary’s historic Union Station building, nearby a SouthShore passenger train station and other critical services.

The digital divide is very real for Hoosiers, with more than 184,000 households without any access to the Internet.

“Our team was glad to attend the groundbreaking for this new facility,” Mattie Perry-Lightfoot, Team Gary leader and AARP Indiana volunteer executive council member, said.

“High-speed Internet isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity that many older people in Gary and around the state count on for telemedicine, staying connected with family, and much more.”

Groundbreaking for the Fiber Smart House
Many elected officials and stakeholders were on site for the Fiber Smart House groundbreaking, including Congressman Frank Mrvan and Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch.

Further highlighting the need to bridge the digital divide for older adults: thirty-seven percent of Hoosier households currently enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a federal initiative that provides discounts on monthly Internet bills and more, are 50 or older.

AARP Indiana continues to champion high-speed Internet access, with a Digital Equity Bootcamp in Gary and Fort Wayne.

Perry-Lightfoot said, “Investments that make it easier for older people to digitally connect with each other and the people they need are critical to Gary’s future and Indiana’s overall livability.”

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