MERRILLVILLE | Town leaders say they share the concerns many residents have regarding the abundance of abandoned, foreclosed and dilapidated buildings scattered throughout Merrillville.
Resident Tim Mihalik attended Tuesday's Town Council meeting to ask what can be done to force owners of the buildings to at least clean up the properties.
Mihalik, who lives on Pierce Street, said there is a home on the street in which windows are boarded up, gutters are hanging off it and mold and moss are growing on the exterior of the home. He believes the residence has been vacant for around eight years.
Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said councilmen receive regular calls about the status of vacant and blighted buildings.
"We are more frustrated then you are," Guernsey said to Mihalik.
Mihalik said he's also concerned about the former Old Mill pizza and former Carriage House properties, both of which are near 73rd Avenue and Madison Street.
Councilman Tom Goralczyk estimated there are hundreds of buildings in foreclosure throughout the town, including the former Old Mill.
The Old Mill and Carriage House properties are in Merrillville's historic district.
Earlier in the meeting, Council President Carol Miano announced several town leaders are meeting at noon Friday to discuss plans for the district.
"It's going to change," Guernsey said. "It's going to get better."
The town has monthly hearings about unsafe and blighted structures in Merrillville. Zoning Director Dorinda Gregor said it can be challenging to find owners of some neglected buildings.
She suggested the council consider requiring owners of such structures to register with the town when the buildings become vacant. She said other municipalities have those requirements and it could make it easier to track down owners when issues arise.