Hammond repays loan from Highland early

2013-08-24T17:40:00Z 2013-08-24T23:03:18Z Hammond repays loan from Highland earlyLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
August 24, 2013 5:40 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Paying a loan back early saves interest charges.

That’s the idea behind Hammond’s recent early payoff of a nearly $2 million loan granted by the town of Highland in 2006 to help acquire and demolish the old River Park Apartments along Kennedy Avenue near Interstate 80/94.

A windfall of $2.2 million from renegotiation of Cabela’s economic development agreement allowed the loan to be repaid, said Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr.

“We had an agreement with Cabela’s dating back to 2006. That agreement stated that to develop the land at the former Woodmar Country Club, Cabela’s wouldn’t bring in an existing Hammond business,” McDermott said.

In 2012, Cabela’s “made it clear they wanted Walmart to move there from 165th Street,” the mayor said.

A renegotiation of that original agreement to allow Walmart to build a new facility at the former Woodmar Country Club site netted the city of Hammond $2.2 million.

Rather than use the money for a number of projects around the city, McDermott said he preferred to pay off Highland’s loan to eliminate a portion of the city’s debt and “save Hammond taxpayers money.”

A check for $1.8 million was issued by Hammond comptroller Bobby Lendi and mailed to the office of Michael Griffin, Highland clerk-treasurer.

The check in the mail came as a surprise to him and his staff, Griffin said.

“We’re pleased to receive the loan repayment in full with some additional interest,” he said. “We have enjoyed working together with Hammond on this project.”

The acquisition and demolition of the 22-acre River Park Apartment complex along the Little Calumet River near the Highland-Hammond border was a major boon to both communities, Griffin said.

“It’s a major law enforcement benefit,” he said, noting that crime originating at the dilapidated complex spilling over into Highland.

The Highland Town Council, temporarily acting as the Redevelopment Commission, voted 4-1 in 2006 to fund the loan to Hammond.

Griffin said the Highland Town Council meets Monday and will decide how to use the money from the loan repayment.

In mid-June, Hammond officials penned a deal to bring a popular restaurant and brewery to what is now called Oxbow Landing at this site.

The parent company of Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery plans to build a 28,000 square-foot restaurant and production brewery on the southeast corner of the land.

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