Town shares vision on 50th anniversary | Merrillville | nwitimes.com – nwitimes.com

Town Councilman Shawn Pettit (right) is among those celebrating the town’s 50th anniversary during a reception Thursday..
Town Councilman Richard Hardaway (left) and Councilman Jeff Minchuk (right) congratulate Merrillville Parks Director Tarrance Price after Price was promoted to the director position during Thursday’s special Town Council meeting.
Merrillville Administrative Manager Linda Rosas pours champagne for a reception following Thursday’s special Town Council meeting. The council recognized the town’s 50th anniversary and announced the panel’s vision for coming years during the special session.
MERRILLVILLE – Planning for a new town hall, a promotion in the Parks and Recreation Department and other aspects of the Town Council’s vision for coming years were revealed as the municipality celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The council met in a special meeting Thursday, exactly 50 years after Merrillville incorporated as a town, and officials took the opportunity to share their goals.
“While it is important to look back when it all began, it is even more important to look toward the future,” Council President Rick Bella said.
The town’s future looks to include a new complex to house municipal operations.
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Councilman Shawn Pettit said Merrillville officials will “begin discussions and conceptual designs for a new town hall on the recently purchased (16-acre) property behind our existing Town Hall and include a new park, walking paths, dog park and retail space for a multi-story new building to service Merrillville for the next 50 years.”
Pettit said the existing municipal complex at 7820 Broadway would continue to be used by the Police Department after a new town hall is built.
“Chief (Wiley Luther) Cuttino, you would be in charge of this facility in the future,” Pettit said of the current municipal complex.
The council also made personnel decisions during the special meeting, promoting Tarrance Price as Merrillville’s parks director.
Price had been serving as the assistant parks director for the last three months, and town officials said he’s accomplished much during that time.
“You’ve been a stellar employee and done a lot of things so far. … We appreciate you, we have confidence in you and we look forward to everything you have to offer,” Councilman Richard Hardaway said to Price.
Town Councilman Richard Hardaway (left) hands Merrillville Parks Director Tarrance Price a key to his office. Price was promoted to the director position during Thursday’s special Town Council meeting.
Councilman Leonard White said the retail area around 61st Avenue and Broadway will be an emphasis, and that includes creating an economic plan and adding amenities to revitalize that area.
“That part of Merrillville needs to be brightened up a little bit,” White said.
Diversity has been a focal point for town leaders, and that will continue in coming years as town officials committed to promote diversity and inclusion throughout town government and provide education and outreach programs in the community.
“It’s very important that we not only do it here,” White said. “This community is really a diverse community, and they need to see the leadership here on board with their feelings.”
The council also is planning for traffic studies to review neighborhood streets, traffic signals, parking ordinances and other matters to enhance traffic flow throughout the municipality.
As the town wrapped up its 50th anniversary celebration and the special meeting concluded, Bella delivered a message to municipal leaders.
I “challenge the Town Council, all future town councils and any other elected officials, boards and commissions and conservancy districts to do all in its power to see that our town prospers in the future,” he said.
Merrillville High School valedictorian Salvador Contreras gives his speech to the Class of 2021 Sunday at commencement.
Merrillville High School graduate Aysia Kirklen waits for her name to be called for her diploma in June at commencement.
Merrillville High School graduate Dallas King smiles as his name is called for his diploma Sunday during commencement.
Merrillville High School graduates exit the gymnasium following commencement ceremonies Sunday.
Merrillville High School graduate Keandra Nabors waves to the stands as graduates take their places for commencement ceremonies Sunday.
Members of the Merrillville High School choir cheer on their friends Sunday as they receive their diplomas at commencement.
Merrillville High School graduate Dallas King swings his tassel to the opposite side of his cap on Sunday during commencement.
Michelle Wilson, right, guidance counselor at Merrillville High School, helps graduate Jasmine Patterson with a quick robe adjustment Sunday at commencement.
Merrillville High School salutatorian Jameelah Ali delivers her address to the Class of 2021 Sunday at commencement.
Dante Lipford grabs his tassel as he prepares to turn it to the opposite side of his cap on Sunday during Merrillville High School’s commencement ceremony.
A decorated mortarboard includes the Kanye West “Graduation” album cover on it.
Kobe Lomax, center, takes a selfie with his parents, Cleveland, left, and Ayanna on Sunday following Merrillville High School’s commencement.
Heather Oestreich, math teacher at Merrillville High School, delivers the keynote address for the Class of 2021 Sunday.
A decorated motorboard plays off the lyrics of a song by The Carters.
Merrillville High School graduate Malik Walker gets a handshake Sunday as he heads back to his seat during commencement.
Merrillville High School graduate Mickaela Sanchez smiles as she receives her diploma Sunday at commencement.
Merrillville High School Principal Michael Krutz addresses the audience Sunday during commencement.
Brian Peters records on his cell phone Sunday during Merrillville High School’s commencement ceremony. Peters’ son, Breijon, was one of the members of the Class of 2021.
Merrillville High School graduate Dante Lipford claps after he and his classmates turned their tassels on Sunday during commencement.

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“We wanted to thank the businesses that stuck it out with us. This is just another community event to bring people together,” said Merrillville’s town council president.
Merrillville Administrative Manager Linda Rosas pours champagne for a reception following Thursday’s special Town Council meeting. The council recognized the town’s 50th anniversary and announced the panel’s vision for coming years during the special session.
Town Councilman Shawn Pettit (right) is among those celebrating the town’s 50th anniversary during a reception Thursday..
Town Councilman Richard Hardaway (left) hands Merrillville Parks Director Tarrance Price a key to his office. Price was promoted to the director position during Thursday’s special Town Council meeting.
Town Councilman Richard Hardaway (left) and Councilman Jeff Minchuk (right) congratulate Merrillville Parks Director Tarrance Price after Price was promoted to the director position during Thursday’s special Town Council meeting.
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