M'ville may condemn properties for Mississippi Street project

2013-04-10T19:30:00Z 2013-04-10T22:47:05Z M'ville may condemn properties for Mississippi Street projectChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | The acquisition of right of way for the Mississippi Street improvement project could involve condemnation proceedings.

The town needs to obtain 65 parcels for the project, which will reconstruct and widen Mississippi Street to four lanes from 101st Avenue to just south of U.S. 30, Town Councilman Shawn Pettit said during a Redevelopment Commission meeting.

"A lot of offers" have gone out for several of the parcels, and the town has paid for seven parcels so far, Pettit said.

Town leaders haven't announced how many or which properties would have to go through the condemnation process.

Right of way acquisition is scheduled to finish in October, according to Robinson engineering. Bid letting for the construction is expected to occur by early next year.

Pettit said the town isn't going to "wait around" to obtain the necessary parcels because the project is "extremely important."

"I want this thing moving along," Pettit said.

The reconstruction and widening work is expected to cost about $9 million, he said.

Federal funds will pay for the majority of the work. Merrillville is responsible for 20 percent of the construction costs. The town will use tax increment financing district dollars to cover its portion of the project.

In other matters, the Redevelopment Commission approved an agreement with the Butler, Fairman and Seufert engineering company for a possible project on 101st Avenue.

Pettit said he expects more traffic on the road after Dawn Food Products and Horizon Financial Management open new facilities in the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads, which is near 101st Avenue and Broadway.

The project could involve reconfiguring 101st Avenue from Georgia Street to Mississippi Street and replacing a bridge over Interstate 65.

Butler, Fairman and Seufert will develop a cost estimate for the work while the town determines if it could refinance a bond to fund the proposed project, Pettit said.

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