Munster gets OK to convert park tract for other uses

2013-04-13T17:55:00Z 2013-04-13T22:40:03Z Munster gets OK to convert park tract for other usesLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent
April 13, 2013 5:55 pm  • 

MUNSTER | The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved converting some land at Centennial Park and Community Park for other uses.

The amendment of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 allows Munster to remove the specific acreage from park use, said Clay Johnson, assistant town manager.

In Centennial Park, 15.62 acres north of the park will be converted for developing Centennial Village, a mixed-use development that will include commercial and residential properties. High-rise condominiums will allow empty nesters to stay in Munster, Johnson said.

This development will occupy land that is currently part of Munster Steel. The firm will relocate to a new structure in Hammond and the land will become part of the grade separation project at 45th Street and Calumet Avenue.

The grade separation project will create an underpass for vehicular traffic under elevated railroad tracks that carry Canadian National trains.

The plans call for a new stretch of 45th to run through the current site of the Munster Steel Co. fabrication plant and allow east-west traffic to cross Calumet Avenue instead of having to turn onto Calumet for a short stretch to cross the tracks. The reconfiguration still will allow westbound cars on 45th to turn onto Columbia Avenue and head toward the medical campuses to the north.

Redevelopment of Community Park is creating new recreational opportunities for youth leagues and families. Part of that redevelopment is a parking lot to serve the northern section of the park. However, the footprint for the parking lot takes up land currently owned by St. Thomas More Church.

The Department of Interior amendment agreement allows Munster to convert 1.18 acres of Community Park as part of a land swap with St. Thomas More Church through the Diocese of Gary to make way for the park’s new parking lot.

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