MERRILLVILLE | Even through a slow economy, Merrillville continues to attract businesses, Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said.
"It's a town that really works well," Guernsey said.
Modern Forge Cos. decided last year to move from its Blue Island, Ill., facility to 8757 Colorado St. in Merrillville.
Guernsey views Modern Forge's decision to come to Merrillville as a major accomplishment for the town.
The company looks to invest about $17 million in Merrillville and bring some 250 jobs to the community.
Steve DeBold, a design engineer from Chester Inc., said work has started to get infrastructure in place at the site, and the construction of an addition is expected to start by this summer.
Work also continues to construct a Muller Acura dealership on U.S. 30 east of Whitcomb Street. Town officials expect that business to open later this year.
Lincoln Solar LLC also plans to install 6,800 solar panels in the 8500 block of Grand Boulevard to create solar power to sell to NIPSCO. The $6 million project could begin this spring.
In addition to being an attractive location for businesses, Merrillville also is "a place where people want to raise their families," Town Councilman Richard Hardaway said.
Hardaway thinks the diversity found in Merrillville makes it "a community of choice."
Guernsey said Merrillville officials are contemplating ways to improve the town so it remains an enticing place to locate.
He said public safety is a top priority for town leaders, and adding more officers to the Merrillville Police Department is necessary.
Although the department is understaffed, Hardaway believes the town "has one of the best police departments in Northwest Indiana."
He also said a decision to form a fire territory in Merrillville "will only make things better" in the town.
The territory is a separate taxing district funded by property taxes in the district.
Approving the territory was necessary to increase funding for the department so it could hire full-time firefighters and update its aging equipment, town officials said.
The Merrillville Fire Department had a budget of $600,000 before the territory was formed, and it received its funds through contracts with the town and Ross Township. The department has a $1.7 million operating budget in 2012.
The department has been completely staffed by volunteers, but it can hire 12 full-time firefighters because of its new budget.