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Merrillville moving forward with property purchase as hunting discussions continue

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Town of Merrillville website
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The town of Merrillville continues working to acquire land that was being used as an informal hunting ground. The 10-acre property near the Sandpiper subdivision is privately owned, despite the fact that it's legally a park and drainage easement and has no road access.

Shawn Pettit told the rest of the town council Tuesday that the owner is willing to sell it back to the town for the amount she paid at tax sale — about $2,500. "I'd like to instruct both [Town Attorney] Joe [Svetanoff] and [Town Manager] Pat Reardon to execute and find the resources to allocate, to get this drainage easement and turn it over to Mr. [Matt] Lake in the stormwater utility out there in the Sandpiper subdivision, that would be owned by the town of Merrillville," Pettit said.

The issue has led to a larger discussion on whether Merrillville should ban hunting outright. Pettit noted that residents of the Broadfield area have expressed concern with people hunting on nearby land, but it's currently allowed under the town's ordinance, since the site is 10 acres.

However, resident Warren Winter doesn't see an issue with hunting on his more rural property. "I own about 90-plus acres there. I use it for recreation and some farming. That's one of the reasons I live there, and I want to continue this process," Winter told council members.

Pettit promised to include Winter in any discussion going forward.