HIGHLAND | The Town Council is positioning itself for the eventual purchase of various properties along North Kennedy Avenue and in the downtown area if they become available.
The council voted 4-1 to add several properties to a list that has been established over the past couple of years.
The lone no vote was cast by Councilman Mark Herak, I-2nd.
Properties already on the list include the public works garage on Kennedy near the Hammond border and the Sharp Athletic Complex behind the garage. Town officials want to develop land along the Little Calumet River.
Other properties on the list run along Kennedy to Lincoln Avenue and Highway Avenue in the downtown business district.
One of the new properties on the updated list is an abandoned house next to the main fire station on Highway.
"They want to sell it," Redevelopment Director Cecile Petro said.
Another new property sits near the Town Theatre, which already is owned by the town, she said.
While the Redevelopment Commission is not actively seeking to buy all of the properties, it wants to be in position to buy them if the owners want to sell.
The idea is to "purchase and assemble" adjoining groups of properties that could be combined into one site to catch the interest of developers in the future, Petro said.
She also said it's a long-term plan for the redevelopment of North Kennedy.
The council's approval opens the door for the Redevelopment Commission to schedule a public hearing on a $2 million bond issue, Petro said.
If public sentiment is favorable, it would lead to a confirmatory resolution to proceed.
If the bond issue is ultimately approved, the commission would have funds in place to purchase properties on the list as they become available.
"Hopefully, we can move forward by summer or sooner," Petro said.