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Merrillville's abandoned Old Mill restaurant

The Old Mill Restaurant remains empty at 73rd and Madison in Merrillville.

MERRILLVILLE — The town is planning to raze the former Old Mill restaurant in coming months.

Town Attorney Joseph Svetanoff said the town has received tax sale certificates for two parcels in which the long-vacant and dilapidated building that sits near 73rd Avenue and Madison Street.

“We will now be effectuating notices to all the interested lien-holders so that we can hopefully acquire a tax deed and do some necessary work on the property as quickly as possible,” Svetanoff said.

Town Council President Richard Hardaway said Merrillville is in control of the parcels even though the deed hasn’t yet been issued.

It can take about 120 days before the town receives the deed, Hardaway said.

While Merrillville waits for that to happen, town officials will begin obtaining bids to demolish the blighted facility so that work can begin as soon as all the paperwork is finalized, he said.

The municipality intends to use Community Development Block Grant funding for the demolition.

Hardaway said Merrillville has about $44,000 in CDBG funding that expires June 15, but Merrillville has received an extension that will keep the money available until September.

Lake County waived more than $87,000 in back taxes and assessments owed for the two parcels in the process of issuing the tax certificates.

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Work to obtain the lots comes after Merrillville in February acquired another parcel of the Old Mill site. There are no buildings on that parcel.

No taxpayer money has been used to obtain the parcels, Councilman Shawn Pettit said.

The council long has discussed how to handle the Old Mill property. Engineering studies completed years ago recommended razing the building because of numerous structural issues and mold inside the facility.

“Obviously, this is a long time coming,” Pettit said of Merrillville's acquiring the site and the upcoming demolition.

The council hasn’t decided how to use the land after the structure is razed.

The Old Mill isn’t the only location the town wants to address at the 73rd Avenue and Madison Street intersection.

The former Carriage House property includes several blighted structures, and town officials said they will look at possible options to bring improvements there.

The council in 2017 heard a proposal from a person interested in building a gas station at the Carriage House site, but the panel denied that project because members thought it wasn’t a good fit for that area.

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