Recently the Merrillville Town Council, the Merrillville Redevelopment Board and Redevelopment Authority moved forward on issuing bonds to develop and build a new community center. While the majority of the board voted in favor of the project, the vote was nowhere near unanimous. Roxanne LaMarca and Margaret Uzelac voted no, and current Town Clerk-Treasurer Gene Guernsey raised concerns of the ability to pay for the bonds. Along with this, no one is saying how the town is going to pay to operate the center! Obviously, there will have to be staff to run the center, so where is the money for this coming from?
I think the current Merrillville Town Board is living in a fantasy world to some extent when it comes to using town funds to build this. Merrillville is on the hook for 22% to 33% of their tax receipts for the next 30 years to fund the South Shore expansion, a project that will bring little, if any, benefit to the town. Merrillville is slowly dying by the death of a thousand cuts.
The former Century Mall area is still underdeveloped with no plan that I am aware of to remedy this vacant 40 acres. Retail around the I-65/US 30 corridor is on life support.
So why is the town planning on building a new facility when there are or soon will be vacant buildings that could be reborn to become the community center at a cost far less than $24 million?
Rick LaFever, Merrillville