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Hallmark Building

Kiddie Academy wants to occupy the former Hallmark store on the corner of Main and Summit streets in Crown Point.

It's one thing to oppose a feasible government idea to fix a long-standing problem when the naysayer also is proposing a better alternative to solving the issue.

But when opposition digs in and simply says no, offering no counter-solutions, it's a clear sign of bad government.

A majority on the Crown Point City Council recently exhibited such deficient judgment in rejecting an economic development designation — and potential tax abatement — that would have paved the way to making use of a long-shuttered and moldering property on the doorstep of city's downtown.

The council should reconsider its position unless it has a better plan for ensuring the productive use of a property that has been vacant and blighted for 10 years.

At issue is the former Hallmark building on Main Street, just north of the downtown square.

Petitioners for a proposed child day-care center sought a designation for the site as an economic revitalization area, which would make it eligible for a tax abatement.

The designation is something often used for blighted properties, and the long-shuttered Hallmark building, visibly in internal disrepair by anyone peering through its windows, fits the bill.

The Crown Point Economic Development Committee narrowly passed a recommendation for the designation on a 4-3 vote.

But by an inverse margin, the Crown Point City Council recently voted 4-3 to not award the designation.

Crown Point Mayor Uran, who supports the designation as a means to finally make use of a blighted property, said he now fears the project will evaporate and the building will continue moldering.

We also hope it's not too late for the council to realize its folly and reconsider.

The designation would open the door for a tax abatement for the day care project, which the petioners believe would allow the plan to financially move forward.

The payoff in a blighted property, so close to the city's downtown epicenter, finding new life would be worth it.

Meanwhile, none of the council members who opposed the designation — Scott Evorik, Laura Sauerman, T.J. Wigmore and Carol Drasga — appear to have any alternative plans waiting in the wings.

Crown Point is making great strides in becoming a true "Hub City" of Northwest Indiana.

Brownfields turned into youth sports complexes and many abandoned properties finding new use in recent years are proof positive.

The former Hallmark property should be front and center in those plans.

It's time for a change of heart and a new vote. Our Region won't improve based on "No" votes backed by no alternative solutions.


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.