Hammond did the right thing in repaying Highland early for the River Park Apartments demolition loan. It saves money and builds political capital.
Acquiring and razing the apartment buildings was the right thing to do, too. Crimes that originated from the 22-acre apartment complex on the Hammond-Highland border spilled over into Highland and other areas.
So when Hammond wanted to raze the apartments, Highland loaned Hammond money to get it done sooner.
The land is being redeveloped. The parent company of Flossmoor Station Restaurant and Brewery plans to build a 28,000-square-foot restaurant and brewery on a portion of the land, now referred to as Oxbow Landing.
It was through development at the Cabela's property that Hammond received enough money to repay Highland early.
Hammond's 2006 agreement with Cabela's was that Cabela's wouldn't bring an existing Hammond business to one fo the outlots on that property. But Hammond renegotiated the terms in 2012 to allow Walmart to build there, which brought in $2.2 million for the city.
Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. used $1.8 million of that money to repay Highland and "save Hammond taxpayers money," along with reducing the city's debt load.
That not only helps Hammond taxpayers, but also shows good faith toward a neighboring community.
Highland now is in the unexpected position of having a little more than $1 million extra after paying off the bond the town used to loan Hammond the money in the first place.
Now the town will look at its list of priorities and determine how best to use that windfall.
The cooperation in that project is a model of how local governments can work together to accomplish big things.
This project addressed a crime problem in both municipalities, and repaying off the loan early built goodwill that might lead to future joint projects.
That's a bonus for the region, not just the two communities.