Hammond councilman wants dog park at former train loading site

2013-02-10T18:00:00Z 2013-02-10T21:21:04Z Hammond councilman wants dog park at former train loading siteBy Chelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A Hammond city councilman wants to turn the site of a former train loading area at 173rd Street and Lyman Avenue into a dog park.

The city used funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish the concrete slab at the site, but the land's potential uses are limited because of contamination, Councilman Bill Emerson, D-4th, said.

“My dream is to have a dog park there,” Emerson said. “As it is now, residents walk dogs along the bike path and out in that field.”

Emerson said he wants to see beautification work and benches added around the site, which he said pairs well with the Monon Trail that runs parallel to Lyman Avenue from Douglas Street to Southmoor Road.

“If you look three years ago it was overgrown, and we were having trouble cutting it,” Emerson said. “People would still tend to jog down Lyman and ride bikes out in the street. What's happened the last couple of years is just great out there.”

The city doesn't own the site and may reach out to the owner, CSX Corp., to have a conversation on the future of the property, according to Phil Taillon, executive director of the city's Department of Planning and Development.

“Maybe the city would be interested in obtaining that property and looking at some sort of project there,” Taillon said. “We talked about a park of some kind, but right now we don't own the property, and we don't have a lot of decision-making capability.”

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