MERRILLVILLE | Two town projects haven't advanced as quickly as Council President Shawn Pettit wanted.
During a recent workshop, councilmen learned the right of way acquisition process has started for a project to reconstruct and widen Mississippi Street to four lanes from 101st Avenue to just south of U.S. 30.
The right of way acquisition could be finished next year, and bid letting for the first phase of the widening is projected to occur in 2014, according to Robinson Engineering.
Pettit said he wanted "shovels turning" for the project next year.
Public Works Director Bruce Spires explained acquiring right of way takes longer than it has for previous town projects because of changes in acquisition rules.
"We must follow those rules," Spires said.
Merrillville also is completing renovations at Town Hall, and Pettit is frustrated by the "pitch black parking lot" outside of the facility.
Previous lighting was removed when the parking lot was resurfaced. The town was told it would receive the new LED lighting for the parking lot by Dec. 1, but the lights hadn't arrived as of last week.
Councilman Tom Goralczyk said the manufacturer indicated the lights, which were ordered about 10 weeks ago, weren't ready for a Dec. 1 delivery, but Merrillville should receive them by the end of the month.
"It's something that's beyond our control," Goralczyk said.
Pettit is concerned about safety in the parking lot if there is no lighting.
He suggested the town rent temporary lights for the parking lot until the new lighting is installed.
Goralczyk said renting temporary lighting could be too costly.