Complaints about unfinished subdivision
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent May 19, 2013 11:28PM
MERRILLVILLE -- Tina Huffine and Donna Jarvey feel like they live in the town’s forgotten subdivision.
They reside in Glenwood Manor, a small pocket of Merrillville that consists of 36 to 40 newer homes just east of Interstate 65 and a couple blocks south of 53rd Avenue, where Merrillville borders with Gary.
Across the street to the west is Hobart. Immediately north is vacant property owned by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Huffine told the council there are no stop or speed signs in the subdivision. There’s one street sign, a piece of cardboard put up on 57th Avenue, presumably by the developer, Ray’s General Construction in Merrillville.
A similar street sign on 56th Avenue blew off, she said.
She said when they bought their house in 2008 they were promised a park with a gazebo and playground would be located in a common area behind their home.
Five years later, all that’s there is overgrown grass and weeds.
“There’s trash being dumped along the streets, including TVs and other electronics, and Mississippi Street is a disaster. It’s in great need of repair,” Huffine said at a recent town council meeting.
The main issue, though, said Huffine, who has cancer, is calling 911.
“If you call on a landline phone you get Merrillville. If you use a cell phone, you get Hobart and they say they can’t help you,” Huffine said.
“I feel like we’re being ignored,” said Huffine, who asked for help in dealing with the builder and other issues.
Councilman Richard Hardaway, D-2nd, and Town Manager Bruce Spires visited the site the day after the meeting and agreed some matters were unacceptable.
Hardaway said he wasn’t aware Glenwood Manor was part of his ward before, but would now make it part of his weekly ride around his entire ward to check for code violations and other matters.
“It’s up to the developer to put up speed limit and stop signs. I’ll give him to the end of the week to order them. If he doesn’t by then, we’ll do it, put the signs up and bill the developer,” Hardaway said.
The builder could not be reached for comment. The only number listed online for that name was a wrong number.
Hardaway said town ordinance requires builders to have street signs installed before they even start building. He said Mississippi Street would be addressed.
Hardaway had complained about the condition of 53rd Avenue in the past and said he will ask the city of Gary to collaborate on fixing the problems.
Zoning director Dorinda Gregor said the Glenwood Manor property was approved for development in the 1990s, early 2000s. She said the original developer sold the property to Ray’s.
Gregor doesn’t remember the gazebo being a part of the plan. She said a designated park area could be just grass and landscaping.
Gregor also said the town had never received a complaint about the developer before Huffine appeared at the meeting.
Huffine is happy some of the problems are beginning to be resolved, after she voiced her complaints.
She said the DNR removed a tree as requested and said it would dispatch a crew to clean up garbage thrown on its property. The Hobart Neighborhood Watch said it would keep an eye on Glenwood Manor.
And she is pleased with Hardaway’s quick response, saying he started taking action right away.
“This is part of Ward 2. I’m aware of it now and am on top of it. We’ll fix it,” Hardaway said.