CALUMET CITY | Two businesses near the city’s borders with Lansing and Hammond are among the top priorities to be addressed by the city’s new economic development coordinator.
One is the former theater at the River Oaks Shopping Center, which has been closed for several years and has become a decrepit structure that greets people when they drive in from Lansing.
The other business is Roman Adhesive Inc., 824 State St., which City Coordinator Bryan Swanson said is visible to people entering Calumet City from downtown Hammond.
Swanson, who recently began new duties with Calumet City, told the City Council on Thursday he has met with the new owners of Roman Adhesive. He said the owners want to receive financial benefits from a tax increment finance district to help them pay for the cost of partially demolishing their structure, while also making roof repairs to the remainder.
“When people cross over from Indiana into Calumet City, the first thing they see is the Roman Adhesive plant,” Swanson said. Helping the company make these repairs would improve the city's image.
That also is the concern for the old River Oaks Theater on the east side of Torrence Avenue, which opened in 1969 and has been closed since 2006.
Swanson said he wants the aldermen to hire a company to do a study of the old theater structure for a cost estimate to demolish it. He said he expects to learn the building is filled with asbestos, which will add to the cost and to the amount of time it would take to tear it down.
Swanson could not place a timeline for the structure’s demolition, but said he hopes it will be done before the end of this year.
Swanson also expressed interest in having the city install signs marking the border with surrounding municipalities, saying he thinks an attractive sign could entice people to come to Calumet City when they conduct business.
“People might be staying at one of the motels on Torrence Avenue in Lansing, then decide to make a short drive north if they need to buy something,” he said.