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MERRILLVILLE | Planning for a memorial honoring fallen Merrillville officer Nickolaus Schultz is taking shape.

Merrillville Patrolman Mike Bunnell, secretary of the Merrillville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 168, said the latest proposal for the monument calls for a granite statue surrounded by walls.

The memorial would be outside Town Hall in an area where a gazebo currently sits. Construction of the monument is expected to start in the spring, Bunnell said.

He said landscaping around the memorial could include planting 365 flowers. Schultz’s badge number was 365.

Bunnell said the FOP has collaborated with multiple businesses and organizations, including the Northwest Indiana Landscapers Association, throughout the planning process.

“It’s all coming together really well,” Bunnell said.

Schultz, 24, was shot Sept. 5 while responding to a call at the Tempe Lake Condominiums. Police were sent to a condo there regarding an incident in which an evicted resident broke into the unit. Schultz was removed from life support Sept. 7.

Bunnell said the FOP also is planning a ceremony to be held on the anniversary of Schultz’s death. It’s possible the memorial could be unveiled during that event, he said.

Lodge 168 has collected thousands of dollars through fundraisers and private donations since it announced it was pursuing the memorial project.

The fund grew during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting.

Vequity Stonebridge Merrillville LLC donated $5,000 to the project during the session, and the council matched that with another $5,000 contribution.

Vequity is the developer behind a project to bring a new Ashley Furniture near the U.S. 30 and Mississippi Street intersection.

While the donation took place, it was evident many continue to ache over Schultz’s tragic death.

Councilman Shawn Pettit was among those who became emotional during the donation.

Funding collected by the FOP also will be used to send Merrillville officers to Washington, D.C., in May to attend the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, where Schultz’s name will be included on the Wall of Fallen Officers.

Bunnell said about 12 Merrillville officers will attend the service. Among those traveling to the ceremony are officers who served on the same crew as Schultz.

Those interested in contributing to the Schultz memorial project can send donations to Merrillville FOP 168, P.O. Box 10100, Merrillville, IN 46411.

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Regional News Editor