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Merrillville industrial projects continue to move forward

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Merrillville officials are touting the town's development boom. The town issued 174 building permits in August for a total of almost $42 million in improvements.

Town council member Shawn Pettit says Merrillville is at the top of the list when it comes to developable land in Lake County. "We're head and shoulders above everybody because of our tax rate, because of our staff, because of the incentives that this council gives," Pettit said during Tuesday's council meeting.

The town council approved an economic development agreement with Midwest Aerospace Casting, which plans to open a foundry in the Fieldhouse building at Ameriplex at the Crossroads. It includes a $375,000 financial incentive, if the company creates and maintains 25 full-time jobs.

Meanwhile, the Opus Group plans to build a $30 million, 290,000-square-foot industrial building on Mississippi Street, with room for up to three tenants. Council members had already approved a tax abatement under a previous owner, but approved it again Tuesday under the Opus Group.

Council President Rick Bella said Merrillville is getting more and more attention, as evidenced by Tuesday's visit from Governor Eric Holcomb. "I've never seen the Indiana governor more than I have in the last two years, and many of those visits have been right here to the town of Merrillville. That puts us on the map. That gets us attention downstate. That makes Merrillville the center of the county and the heartbeat of the area," Bella said.