Merrillville subdivision may finally get a park
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent September 23, 2012 7:20PM
Updated: October 25, 2012 6:12AM
MERRILLVILLE — Residents of The Preserve subdivision could get their first neighborhood park by spring if efforts launched by Town Council president and fellow resident Shawn Pettit, D-6th, come to fruition.
Pettit said he would like the town to purchase the property earmarked for the park from a group of investors who bought the lot at a Lake County tax sale along with about 30 other parcels.
The property went to tax sale when the town didn’t record it properly. The property was initially donated to the town by developer Frank Morin of Accent Homes in Merrillville.
Pettit said he is in favor of paying for the land and the park equipment through the Mississippi Street Tax Increment Financing District funds. He would not disclose the amount needed because he said not all of the council members were yet aware of the asking price for the property.
A representative for NASA Leasing in Crown Point told the Post-Tribune he and the investors who purchased the land together wanted $25,000 to $30,000 for the town to buy it back.
“I want to move forward and acquire this property. The money won’t come out of the general fund or the Park Department nonreverting fund. This is something we can use TIF money for,” Pettit said.
Pettit brought the subject up at a council workshop session last week and said other council members seemed to be on board.
Pettit said in addition to having a swing set and other playground equipment installed, the lot would need to be mowed and fertilized.
He said he would like to have the equipment installed this year, but said it more likely would be in the spring.
The subdivision is off Mississippi Street just south of Westfield Southlake Mall.
In other matters at the workshop, the council discussed offering a free branch pick-up service for seniors who are physically unable to bring them to the curb themselves.
Pettit said there are some kinks to be worked out.
“We (town employees) can’t go on private property. (Councilwoman) Carol (Miano, D-3rd), recommended we use people from county corrections,” Pettit said.
Miano said the service would tentatively be scheduled on a Friday during the branch pick-up service, which takes place twice a year. She said to be eligible for the free service, which would be paid from money received by Waste Management as part of its contract with the town, the resident must be a senior with no adult sons or daughters living in the house.
Miano also wants the town to revisit its ordinance regarding firing a gun after residents of the AHEPA apartments on 73rd Avenue heard gunshots fired behind the apartments for seniors on Thursday. She said under the ordinance, adopted in 1972, a gun can be fired on parcels of land that are at least 10 to 20 acres with the OK of the property owner. She said the ordinance was intended for hunters.
Miano said it’s time to revise the ordinance, noting there were no AHEPA apartments or other senior living areas in the vicinity when the ordinance went into effect.