Houses in Ghost Town of Gary, Indiana to be Sold for $1

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While many think of Detroit, Mich. as America's forgotten city, there is one city that epitomizes the term "ghost town," and it lies 25 miles from Chicago, Ill. 

It was known as the City of the Century, when Gary, Indiana was the epicenter of the country's steel industry after World War II.

But now, the town looks deserted, with entire buildings empty and some falling apart.

To combat the problem and bring the city back on its feet, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has suggested destroying half of the city.

"I'd like to see 100,000 folks in Gary. That'd be great," she said. "We could probably do it in 35 square miles."

That would mean 25 percent more residents would live on 40 percent less land.

Around 7,000 properties are owned by the city, many of them having been taken for non-payment of taxes.

Joe Van Dyk, redevelopment director, said 6,500 homes are abandoned. 

Over the course of a few months, the city of Gary is planning to auction off houses for $1 each. But the catch is that buyers must promise to repair the homes they purchase, with each home needing about $15,000 to $30,000 in repairs.

For the buildings that are beyond repair, the city could launch a "deconstruction" program to take apart the buildings. 

Gary, at one point, was populated with 200,000 people who lived and worked there. But once the American manufacturing sector contracted, the population started falling. Entire train stations, churches and auditoriums are no longer used in the city, being completely abandoned and left to rot.

It has also turned into a dangerous city, frequently rated one of the most crime-laden towns in America. About 22 percent of families there live below the poverty line.

The mayors of Gary have been pledging since the '90s to revive the city, but every plan made has failed. 

Sources: Daily Mail, ABC