HAMMOND | A former Hammond Public Library branch may become the U.S. headquarters for an oil analysis laboratory.
The firm, Tribologik, is planning to buy the old E.B Hayward branch library at 172nd Street and Columbia Avenue. Tribologik, with headquarters in Montreal, analyzes oil tests on machinery to predict potential maintenance needs, according to the company's website.
In its letter to the city, Marco A. Molina, the company's attorney, said Tribologik wants a location in Hammond because “it is centrally located in the U.S.”
The E.B. Hayward branch closed along with the Howard branch on Grand Avenue in 2011 because of financial restraints. The shuttered branch remains an expense to the library system because “it still has to maintain the premises, even though it is not used,” according to the letter.
Tribologik would rebuild the inside of the building to fit the function of an oil analysis laboratory. Loading doors would be added for drop offs of oil samples.
The company needs to go before the city to zone the property for commercial use. The petition is now before the Hammond City Council.
City Council President Michael Opinker, D-5th, said the business is completely safe and plans to work with chemical engineering students at Purdue University Calumet.
“When people think of laboratory, actually what they are going to be doing is small oil vials that they are going to be testing,” Opinker said.
Opinker said he's trying to discuss the new business as much as possible because it will locate in his district.
“To explain, if anybody has any questions about it,” Opinker said. “It's a totally safe operation. People need to educate themselves on what it's all about. Along with working with students from Purdue, it's a win-win for everybody.”