By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent January 30, 2013 1:26PM
Dan Lambert of Lakeshore Floors installs flannel-colored carpet tiles in the Town Court office at the renovated Merrillville (Ind.) Town Hall on Jan. 11, 2013. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 2:06AM
Merrillville Town Hall has received a nearly $1 million face-lift, giving it a fresh look and making it more energy efficient at a fraction of the cost of building new.
“Altogether, we’ll spend about $1 million in improvements,” said Councilman Tom Goralczyk, D-4th, who led the renovation effort. “If we had constructed a new building, we had estimates of $6 million to $8 million.”
The money came from the Broadway tax increment financing district revenue.
Goralczyk said this is the first major renovation done on the Town Hall building in the last 20 years.
“I thought it was about time we invested the money,” he said.
Town Hall, at 7820 Broadway, is a former Tepe’s retail store that the town purchased in the early 1990s.
Goralczyk said renovations started in the parking lot, which was repaved. A brick sidewalk was added down the center of the lot, light poles and electric conduit were replaced, and a new Christmas tree was placed in front.
“The tree will be the focal point of Town Hall and will stay in year-round,” Goralczyk said.
The exterior was painted, some damaged roofing was repaired, most of the doors on the outside — which were rusted — were replaced, and all outside lighting was changed to the more efficient LED. Goralczyk said four new flagpoles and two new signs, one to be placed by the street and one in front of the building, will be added later, and the lot still needs to be sealed and striped.
Inside, the lobby entrance received a fresh coat of red paint and a new mat. Most of the town’s departments, including police, received new carpeting and paint, and the council chambers received new carpeting only. The kitchen area in the break room has new vinyl flooring and paint.
A new sprinkler system also was added.
Goralczyk said the interior work cost about $485,000 and the exterior about $460,000 so far. He said when you add the two signs and seal-coating and striping, the total will come close to $1 million.
Clerk-Treasurer Gene Guernsey said he was against spending the money on remodeling at first due to the town’s fiscal problems, but now applauds the work Goralczyk did in getting it done.
“This building reflects the town of Merrillville,” Guernsey said.