New 86th Avenue Road About to Open

A new road, 86th Avenue, is set to open soon, promising improved convenience for residents and enhanced public safety for emergency services in Merrillville. This road has been in the town’s master road plan for several decades, and recent developments in the area have underscored its necessity. Starting at Broadway and extending westward to connect with an existing dead-end road serving the Hunter’s Glen neighborhood, 86th Avenue is poised to become a crucial thoroughfare.

One of the most significant benefits of this project is the transformation of 86th Avenue into a throughway from Broadway to Merrillville Road. Additionally, the Merrillville Road intersection will be upgraded to a 4-way stop, complete with flashing stop signs and new road striping. This improvement will make it easier for east and westbound drivers on 86th Avenue to access Merrillville Road, offering substantial relief to residents of Sedona and Hunter’s Glen when exiting their neighborhoods.

What’s particularly commendable about this project is its financing. Thanks to the support of fellow council members who advocated for the use of Broadway Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds, the project comes at no direct cost to Merrillville taxpayers. TIF districts allow tax dollars collected within their boundaries to be allocated for improvements that benefit the district area, making this a well-planned and sustainable investment.

The project’s total cost was just under $1.5 million, a reasonable price considering the benefits it will bring to the community. Although the road itself is nearly ready, temporary lighting will be added to ensure safety until NIPSCO can install new streetlights. Like many other infrastructure projects, supply chain issues have caused some delays, but the town is committed to resolving these issues promptly.

To enhance the aesthetics of the new road, plans include planting trees and adding landscaping to the center median near the Broadway entrance. Additionally, a new sidewalk has been constructed, allowing pedestrians to use the road safely.

In terms of road safety, the speed limit on 86th Avenue will be set at 30 MPH, and residents can expect increased police patrols on the new roadway, ensuring that it remains a safe and orderly route for all. It’s worth noting that this project has been a source of pride for Rick Bella, the Town Council President, who has spearheaded it. Opening a new road is a rare and momentous occasion, and Mr. Bella eagerly anticipates its completion, eager to witness residents and visitors benefiting from this valuable addition to the town’s infrastructure.

In conclusion, the impending opening of 86th Avenue is a cause for celebration in Merrillville. This project showcases thoughtful planning, responsible financing, and a commitment to improving the lives of residents and ensuring public safety. It’s a testament to the dedication of Merrillville’s leaders and a sign of a brighter future for the town. -Rick Bella, Town Council President

A word about TIF districts: TIF, or Tax Increment Financing is a type of financing that permits local governments to finance the redevelopment of blighted areas and the economic development of rapidly developing areas. Funding for this project came from the Broadway TIF District which in part captures new development tax dollars (minus any tax that goes to other taxing entities) to be used for economic development. For example, property taxes from all of the new developments at the Ameriplex at the Crossroads (Amazon for example) are collected and may be used by the Town’s Redevelopment Commission for major projects like this new roadway. The Town would not otherwise have funds in the general fund to pay for such a large project. Details about TIF use in Indiana may be found at the button link below.  

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