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Vacant Griffith properties

A stretch of Broad Street is shown in downtown Griffith.

Kale Wilk, The Times

Vibrancy defines downtown Griffith because of strong municipal and business leadership to instill a sense and quality of place.

Anyone who's frequented the heart of the downtown, along Broad Street, within the past several years no doubt has noticed a palpable buzz there.

Storefronts and businesses — including coffee shops and eateries — have drawn customers back to what had been a sleepy main drag.

Town leadership should be congratulated for preparing to take the next steps.

In the past decade, Griffith Town Council has helped reshape the downtown by eliminating blight.

This included a purchase and demolition of blighted properties on the east side of Broad Street.

"And, as it turned out, that led to a revitalization of the remaining Broad Street businesses that we see continuing to grow and prosper today," Town Council President Rick Ryfa told The Times last week.

This month, the redevelopment commission became the official owner of the properties left over from razing blight.

The commission now will hold sway over the remaining grassy parcels, with the ability to attach development conditions to benefit the town's prosperity and appearance.

And town leaders also are taking a serious look at potential uses for the long-vacant Griffith Golf Center site, which the municipality purchased a couple of years ago.

"Our hope is for the property to be ready for development within a year," Ryfa said.

The golf course closed more than a decade ago, and town leaders diligently are working through state channels and on arranging an appraisal to see a return on the $500,000 investment the town made to purchase the site.

Converting the 55-acre site into a revenue generator will only bolster the town's quality of place.

Griffith's tenacity in rebuilding a vibrant downtown from the ashes of blight make it a key Northwest Indiana municipality to watch.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.