MERRILLVILLE | Efforts to create a vibrant historic district in Merrillville could include the acquisition of the former Old Mill pizza and Carriage House properties.
During Monday's informational meeting about the historic district, Town Council President Carol Miano said she has started examining the possibility of obtaining the properties, both near 73rd Avenue and Madison Street.
Taghi Arshami, of the Arsh Group, said one of the goals of creating the historic district is to promote redevelopment and attract new businesses.
If Merrillville can acquire the Old Mill and Carriage House properties, the town could remodel the buildings and rent space in them for businesses, such as a bakery, art studio and coffee shop, Miano said.
Some residents said they attended the meeting to find out the status of those buildings and were pleased to hear Merrillville is attempting to acquire them.
The historic district is slated to run along 73rd Avenue from Mississippi Street to Van Buren Street.
Merrillville is contemplating several improvement projects to enhance the area.
Arshami presented several concepts for streetscapes, landscaping, decorative lighting and other features that can be incorporated into the district.
After explaining possible plans, the concepts were displayed on three boards, and residents were asked to identify the features they want the town to pursue.
Councilman Shawn Pettit said the town wants to start a road improvement project on Madison Street, and enhancing the intersection at 73rd Avenue will be included in those plans.
He said Merrillville will review the feedback received Monday and discuss how the ideas can be implemented in the upcoming project.
Pettit said funding for projects in the historic district could come from Merrillville's Mississippi Street and Broadway tax increment financing districts.
Arshami said creating the district could also make Merrillville eligible for historic preservation grants.