GRIFFITH | The Town Council on Tuesday tapped NIES Engineering Inc. to study how to corral stormwater at the former Griffith Golf Course.
The Hammond-based firm will report "what we would need to do to capture the most acreage and market it for development," said Council Vice President Rick Ryfa, R-3rd.
The town bought the 50-acre site in December for $500,000. The land sits along the east side of Cline Avenue near the Little Calumet River.
It was closed as a golf course about six years ago because of difficult economic times and flooding from the river.
NIES will perform the study in 60 days for $7,650.
It will focus on how to detain stormwater on the site and use as much of the land as possible for development, Ryfa said.
"We would like to see the (Little Calumet River) levee moved from its current location on River Road to the north half of the golf course."
If this can be done, development could come to the south half of the parcel, Ryfa said.
When it bought the land, the council also rezoned it from open space to central business to accommodate that future development.
Various people have suggested many uses, ranging from a motel complex to a new UPS facility.
NIES said it will coordinate its study with the Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
"The LCRBDC has been very helpful in the initial stages of this process," Ryfa said.
In other business, the council voted to protect all town officials personally named in a lawsuit against the town recently filed by former Police Chief Ron Kottka after his demotion.
The vote was 3-0 with Ryfa abstaining. Councilman Stan Dobosz, D-5th, was absent from the meeting.
Along with the town, Kottka's lawsuit targets Ryfa and each individual member of the Safety Board.
If judgments are made against them, the town would cover any financial penalties not paid by insurance, Griffith Town Attorney Robert Schwerd said.
Schwerd said such protection is needed because nobody would want to serve on a civic board if they faced the threat of individual lawsuits for official actions taken on behalf of the town.
The council also named Al Markut as the new parks supervisor.