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View Poll Results: Do you think Merrillville is declining?
Yes 36 83.72%
No 6 13.95%
Other - Please Explain 1 2.33%
Voters: 43. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-18-2012, 12:40 AM
 
Location: Chicagoland area
554 posts, read 2,493,333 times
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Merrillville is the basically the retail hub of Lake County. It offers plenty of big box options along U.S. 30, and is home to Southlake Mall. It's hard to imagine Merrillville declining, especially given its retail importance. Right now, Merrillville seems to be doing just fine. New businesses are moving in: Coach opened shop in Southlake about a year ago, and Chick-fil-A also joined the fast food joints along 30. So Merrillville can't really be declining if businesses are still investing in the area, right?

But there are also troubling signs. For one, schools seem to be declining - who wants to live in a family-oriented area with bad schools? Income levels are declining, while crime seems to be creeping up. If the trends don't reverse, businesses will eventually move out. The future won't be so bright in 10-20 years.

So what's left for Merrillville? Is there reason to be concerned, or will it be the next Calumet City or Matteson in the future?
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis
3,892 posts, read 5,477,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHICAGOLAND92 View Post
Merrillville is the basically the retail hub of Lake County. It offers plenty of big box options along U.S. 30, and is home to Southlake Mall. It's hard to imagine Merrillville declining, especially given its retail importance. Right now, Merrillville seems to be doing just fine. New businesses are moving in: Coach opened shop in Southlake about a year ago, and Chick-fil-A also joined the fast food joints along 30. So Merrillville can't really be declining if businesses are still investing in the area, right?

But there are also troubling signs. For one, schools seem to be declining - who wants to live in a family-oriented area with bad schools? Income levels are declining, while crime seems to be creeping up. If the trends don't reverse, businesses will eventually move out. The future won't be so bright in 10-20 years.

So what's left for Merrillville? Is there reason to be concerned, or will it be the next Calumet City or Matteson in the future?
I think Merrillville will decline a little bit. but it wont fall as hard as Gary/East Chicago did.
I think it will do a Hammond.
Hammond declined since the 1960s however it was not nearly as bad as Gary and East Chicago.
Heck Hammond is larger than Gary now. Hammond has lost about 25% of its population since the 60s compared to Gary at 50%+

However i do think Gary and East Chicago will start coming back soon. Especially Gary.
Karen Freeman Wilson is one of the few democrats i respect. She is smart and she understands what the issues are that are plagueing Gary. She doesnt run away and hide from the issues either. She faces them like a Women.
Heck just recently she went after a company that was going to set up in Noblesville, Indiana down by Indianapolis and convinced the company to setup shop in Gary instead. Its a particle acclerator project that has high paying jobs. Now the trick is to get those people to also live in Gary.

Karens focus on Economic Development is exactly what the city needs to rebound and become a success story of the Rust Belt just like Indianapolis started in the late 60s and 70s into the 80s.

Modern Indianapolis differs very much from the old Indy of the 1960s.

I think and hope Gary will be able to pull off the same achievements that Indy did.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:26 AM
 
2,154 posts, read 5,448,913 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHICAGOLAND92 View Post
Merrillville is the basically the retail hub of Lake County. It offers plenty of big box options along U.S. 30, and is home to Southlake Mall. It's hard to imagine Merrillville declining, especially given its retail importance. Right now, Merrillville seems to be doing just fine. New businesses are moving in: Coach opened shop in Southlake about a year ago, and Chick-fil-A also joined the fast food joints along 30. So Merrillville can't really be declining if businesses are still investing in the area, right?

But there are also troubling signs. For one, schools seem to be declining - who wants to live in a family-oriented area with bad schools? Income levels are declining, while crime seems to be creeping up. If the trends don't reverse, businesses will eventually move out. The future won't be so bright in 10-20 years.

So what's left for Merrillville? Is there reason to be concerned, or will it be the next Calumet City or Matteson in the future?
The mall area is still okay, however, the primary reason that new retail has moved there is because it serves all of NWI. However, if the new shopping areas were to open in Schererville or Crown Point, the southlake mall area would have major competition.

There are several issues with Merrillville:

FLIGHT: Merrillville is the one town in NWI that was blatantly built upon white flight. The town never really had an identity until the mall area was built. Before that, it was just "nicer than Gary". Well, as soon as the people that many of the folks moved away from moved towards them, there was flight again. Merrillville used to be just as predominantly white as towns like Munster, Highland, and Dyer. But the main difference is that those other towns never really catered to lower-income individuals whereas Merrillville did. Also, most of the lower-income individuals from Gary were Black which added a racial component to people's fears. When Blacks started moving into Merrillville in search for the same thing that White families looked for, people ran again (spreading out more to Crown Point, Schererville, Hobart, Valpo). Merrillville's mistake was not attracting high-income residents.

Munster, Dyer, and Schererville have attracted high-income residents from many racial/ethnic backgrounds. While these towns are predominantly White, I still see more true diversity represented there than in Merrillville. People like to speak of how "diverse" Merrillville is and how people who don't like Merrillville are just against diversity. In 10 years, Merrillville will probably be nearly 100% lower-middle to middle-class Black. Not diverse by any means. In comparison to Matteson, Matteson at least attempted to attract middle to upper-middle income families from the get-go.

Merrillville's higher income areas were mostly built so late that they don't command higher income type prices. IF someone really wants to live an upscale lifestyle and be zoned to Merrillville schools, there option is pretty much the area of White Hawk Country Club in CP that is zoned to Merrillville. But even Merrillville's reputation has affected portions of Crown Point that are in Merrillville school district. Land prices in White Hawk are insanely inexepensive.

SCHOOLS: The schools in Merrillville are not the best. Merrillville was never strict enough on attendance boundaries. Thus, many residents from Gary who wanted to go to Merrillville schools just lied and put a Merrillville address. Unfortunately (as in cases around the country) many of these residents thought that simply sending their kids to better schools would fix any problems. Not realizing that many of these transfers were the reason why the schools are so terrible in Gary.

HOUSING: Drive around some of the newest subdivisions in Merrillville like Prairie Creek on 73rd and Whitcomb. This subdivision is less than 10 years old and many homes there look very unkempt. There are unfinished townhomes on Adams St just off 57th Ave. There is a major subdivision off US 30 that has just 3 sets (or so) of townhomes and thats it. Nothing else but empty roads crumbling. These are the types of places that people with money do not want to invest in. Crown Point has much nicer housing, that is not that much more expensive than comparable housing in Merrillville, in a safer area, with better schools.
Many people who could easily afford to move to Merrillville would rather stay in Gary because they live in a house that is paid off and do not want to pay more to live in what can be considered a future ghetto suburb.

SAFETY: Merrillville has now had how many murders, home invasions, etc.?? This is NOT including things in the mall/retail areas. When people bring this up, people get defensive saying that "this can happen anywhere"...however if you combine all the crime in the tri-town area, Munster, and Highland (over 100,000 pop.) and compare to Merrillville (roughly 35,000 pop), Merrillville is much much worse. Problems from Gary have spilled over in full force into Merrillville. At first, many Blacks would say that anyone who said anything was racist. But as soon as the homes of middle-class, professional Black families started getting broken into in Merrillville, even many Blacks have fled to Crown Point, Valpo, Portage, etc. People of all kinds are leaving Merrillville and being replaced mostly by people fleeing Gary.

The superintendent of Merrillville Schools who always "praises" how "wonderful" Merrillville is and that people who don't like it are against "diversity" but he actually lives in Crown Point . Now, he can choose to live wherever he wants. But he has made it clear that he still lives in the Merrillville district. However, the subdivision he lives in is on the border of the CP/Merrillville district and he doesn't have any kids of school age. In fact, his son lives in one of the southern most areas of Crown Point in the CP district. I would say he would have more credibility if he lived even in the area around 73rd and Whitcomb that is more characteristically Merrillville (and actually IN Merrillville).

People thought that towns like Munster and Highland would decline due to them being further north and close to Hammond and the south suburbs. However, these towns have actually improved socioeconomically and Munster has the highest family income in NWI. Merrillville is further south AND east (the direction that most flight of the area went) and has the lowest socio-economic statuses of all the suburban areas in NWI.

Even the areas south of Rt. 30 in Merrillville like the Sedona subdivision has residents who refused to leave the ghetto in the ghetto and decided to being it with them. Merrillville has many Black residents who are TIRED of the people they left moving into their neighborhoods and messing it up.

THE GOOD thing in Merrillville is that at the very least, they are trying to correct past mistakes. They are also trying to attract better retail to the area.

If I were to invest in housing long-term, I would rather move to Hammond than Merrillville any day. My property values would decline much slower.

Hammond has a lot of loyal residents who have not fled and never will. This is why Hammond seems to be making a little comeback. Merrillville never really had many loyal residents as MOST residents were flight residents that have now moved onto Crown Point, Lowell, Valpo now.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:32 AM
 
Location: Indianapolis
3,892 posts, read 5,477,025 times
Reputation: 957
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northwest Indiana View Post
The mall area is still okay, however, the primary reason that new retail has moved there is because it serves all of NWI. However, if the new shopping areas were to open in Schererville or Crown Point, the southlake mall area would have major competition.

There are several issues with Merrillville:

FLIGHT: Merrillville is the one town in NWI that was blatantly built upon white flight. The town never really had an identity until the mall area was built. Before that, it was just "nicer than Gary". Well, as soon as the people that many of the folks moved away from moved towards them, there was flight again. Merrillville used to be just as predominantly white as towns like Munster, Highland, and Dyer. But the main difference is that those other towns never really catered to lower-income individuals whereas Merrillville did. Also, most of the lower-income individuals from Gary were Black which added a racial component to people's fears. When Blacks started moving into Merrillville in search for the same thing that White families looked for, people ran again (spreading out more to Crown Point, Schererville, Hobart, Valpo). Merrillville's mistake was not attracting high-income residents.

Munster, Dyer, and Schererville have attracted high-income residents from many racial/ethnic backgrounds. While these towns are predominantly White, I still see more true diversity represented there than in Merrillville. People like to speak of how "diverse" Merrillville is and how people who don't like Merrillville are just against diversity. In 10 years, Merrillville will probably be nearly 100% lower-middle to middle-class Black. Not diverse by any means. In comparison to Matteson, Matteson at least attempted to attract middle to upper-middle income families from the get-go.

Merrillville's higher income areas were mostly built so late that they don't command higher income type prices. IF someone really wants to live an upscale lifestyle and be zoned to Merrillville schools, there option is pretty much the area of White Hawk Country Club in CP that is zoned to Merrillville. But even Merrillville's reputation has affected portions of Crown Point that are in Merrillville school district. Land prices in White Hawk are insanely inexepensive.

SCHOOLS: The schools in Merrillville are not the best. Merrillville was never strict enough on attendance boundaries. Thus, many residents from Gary who wanted to go to Merrillville schools just lied and put a Merrillville address. Unfortunately (as in cases around the country) many of these residents thought that simply sending their kids to better schools would fix any problems. Not realizing that many of these transfers were the reason why the schools are so terrible in Gary.

HOUSING: Drive around some of the newest subdivisions in Merrillville like Prairie Creek on 73rd and Whitcomb. This subdivision is less than 10 years old and many homes there look very unkempt. There are unfinished townhomes on Adams St just off 57th Ave. There is a major subdivision off US 30 that has just 3 sets (or so) of townhomes and thats it. Nothing else but empty roads crumbling. These are the types of places that people with money do not want to invest in. Crown Point has much nicer housing, that is not that much more expensive than comparable housing in Merrillville, in a safer area, with better schools.
Many people who could easily afford to move to Merrillville would rather stay in Gary because they live in a house that is paid off and do not want to pay more to live in what can be considered a future ghetto suburb.

SAFETY: Merrillville has now had how many murders, home invasions, etc.?? This is NOT including things in the mall/retail areas. When people bring this up, people get defensive saying that "this can happen anywhere"...however if you combine all the crime in the tri-town area, Munster, and Highland (over 100,000 pop.) and compare to Merrillville (roughly 35,000 pop), Merrillville is much much worse. Problems from Gary have spilled over in full force into Merrillville. At first, many Blacks would say that anyone who said anything was racist. But as soon as the homes of middle-class, professional Black families started getting broken into in Merrillville, even many Blacks have fled to Crown Point, Valpo, Portage, etc. People of all kinds are leaving Merrillville and being replaced mostly by people fleeing Gary.

The superintendent of Merrillville Schools who always "praises" how "wonderful" Merrillville is and that people who don't like it are against "diversity" but he actually lives in Crown Point . Now, he can choose to live wherever he wants. But he has made it clear that he still lives in the Merrillville district. However, the subdivision he lives in is on the border of the CP/Merrillville district and he doesn't have any kids of school age. In fact, his son lives in one of the southern most areas of Crown Point in the CP district. I would say he would have more credibility if he lived even in the area around 73rd and Whitcomb that is more characteristically Merrillville (and actually IN Merrillville).

People thought that towns like Munster and Highland would decline due to them being further north and close to Hammond and the south suburbs. However, these towns have actually improved socioeconomically and Munster has the highest family income in NWI. Merrillville is further south AND east (the direction that most flight of the area went) and has the lowest socio-economic statuses of all the suburban areas in NWI.

Even the areas south of Rt. 30 in Merrillville like the Sedona subdivision has residents who refused to leave the ghetto in the ghetto and decided to being it with them. Merrillville has many Black residents who are TIRED of the people they left moving into their neighborhoods and messing it up.

THE GOOD thing in Merrillville is that at the very least, they are trying to correct past mistakes. They are also trying to attract better retail to the area.

If I were to invest in housing long-term, I would rather move to Hammond than Merrillville any day. My property values would decline much slower.

Hammond has a lot of loyal residents who have not fled and never will. This is why Hammond seems to be making a little comeback. Merrillville never really had many loyal residents as MOST residents were flight residents that have now moved onto Crown Point, Lowell, Valpo now.
Great points!

Do you think that Merrillville will repeat what happened to Hammond?
Or what makes Hammond different in respect to their declines compared to East Chicago/Gary.
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Old 08-18-2012, 08:42 AM
 
2,154 posts, read 5,448,913 times
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Originally Posted by Broadrippleguy View Post
Great points!

Do you think that Merrillville will repeat what happened to Hammond?
Or what makes Hammond different in respect to their declines compared to East Chicago/Gary.
I don't think Merrillville will repeat Hammond in terms of progress.

One difference is that Hammond has both "urban" and "suburban" characteristics. It has its downtown area and its more "suburban" shopping areas. There is urban housing and suburban housing. There is public transportation (not the best, but still there), close to Chicago, and more TRUE diversity (Black, White, Hispanic, growing Asian population due mostly to PUC, Christians, Muslims, LGBTQ, etc.). Merrillville is mostly just White and Black with a little Hispanic there. However the Black population is booming and the White population decreasing. It is becoming LESS diverse of an area.

Another difference is that while Hammond public schools are not so good, the city at least has other options (private schools within the city and close to good private schools in Chicago and Chicago suburbs). Merrillvilles alternative options are pretty much Andrean, and Forest Ridge Academy. People who live in Merrillville probably won't send their kids to schools of any kind in Gary because that is the reason they left Gary. Crown Point doesn't accept tuition students and most likely never will due to its growth and the fact that most of the transfer students would be from Merrillville/Gary.

One other difference is that when looking at Hammond (more so, South Hammond) there wasn't really much white flight compared to the south suburbs and Gary/Merrillville. Hammond as a whole is still predominantly White (if only slightly) and South Hammond is still roughly 70% White. A lot of the decline was people aging and their kids not moving back. Yes, there was some flight, but not as much as other areas. That city has a lot of pride.

SIDE NOTE: If anybody has a twitter account, type in "gary merrillville" and see some of the tweets from current merrillville people. There is a growing rivalry between Gary and Merrillville as Gary residents leave Merrillville for "greener pastures". Former Gary residents don't want the people they left to join them in what they think is a nice town. It is kind of funny and sad.

Last edited by Northwest Indiana; 08-18-2012 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Indianapolis
3,892 posts, read 5,477,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northwest Indiana View Post
I don't think Merrillville will repeat Hammond in terms of progress.

One difference is that Hammond has both "urban" and "suburban" characteristics. It has its downtown area and its more "suburban" shopping areas. There is urban housing and suburban housing. There is public transportation (not the best, but still there), close to Chicago, and more TRUE diversity (Black, White, Hispanic, growing Asian population due mostly to PUC, Christians, Muslims, LGBTQ, etc.). Merrillville is mostly just White and Black with a little Hispanic there. However the Black population is booming and the White population decreasing. It is becoming LESS diverse of an area.

Another difference is that while Hammond public schools are not so good, the city at least has other options (private schools within the city and close to good private schools in Chicago and Chicago suburbs). Merrillvilles alternative options are pretty much Andrean, and Forest Ridge Academy. People who live in Merrillville probably won't send their kids to schools of any kind in Gary because that is the reason they left Gary. Crown Point doesn't accept tuition students and most likely never will due to its growth and the fact that most of the transfer students would be from Merrillville/Gary.

One other difference is that when looking at Hammond (more so, South Hammond) there wasn't really much white flight compared to the south suburbs and Gary/Merrillville. Hammond as a whole is still predominantly White (if only slightly) and South Hammond is still roughly 70% White. A lot of the decline was people aging and their kids not moving back. Yes, there was some flight, but not as much as other areas. That city has a lot of pride.

SIDE NOTE: If anybody has a twitter account, type in "gary merrillville" and see some of the tweets from current merrillville people. There is a growing rivalry between Gary and Merrillville as Gary residents leave Merrillville for "greener pastures". Former Gary residents don't want the people they left to join them in what they think is a nice town. It is kind of funny and sad.

wtf?
How old are these people?
35 years old going on 5 or what?
come on when are these people going to act civilized?
And i wonder why Northwest Indiana is not up to its full potential.
A successful NWI would be the perfect tool to grab talent from Chicago and its Illinois suburbs and bring it to Indiana.
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Old 08-18-2012, 02:16 PM
 
2,154 posts, read 5,448,913 times
Reputation: 1571
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broadrippleguy View Post
wtf?
How old are these people?
35 years old going on 5 or what?
come on when are these people going to act civilized?
And i wonder why Northwest Indiana is not up to its full potential.
A successful NWI would be the perfect tool to grab talent from Chicago and its Illinois suburbs and bring it to Indiana.
I'm not gonna lie...I laughed out loud as soon as i saw the "wtf" becuase i knew that you definitely had seen what i was talking about...

Merrillville is not nearly as bad as Gary...BUT people seem to think that because of this fact, that it is okay to act like a fool in Merrillville...well, these actions have caused Merrillville, a "suburb" to have a very low class image.

I urge you to keep checking twitter for more updates...it is entertaining yet sad.
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Old 08-18-2012, 04:17 PM
 
3,004 posts, read 5,121,295 times
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Legally southlake mall is in hobart.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:11 PM
 
2,888 posts, read 6,708,011 times
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Originally Posted by msamhunter View Post
Legally southlake mall is in hobart.
Yes, and without that Merrillville doesn't have much going for it. It's decline began years ago.
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Old 08-18-2012, 07:51 PM
 
811 posts, read 2,322,809 times
Reputation: 644
If you base it on safety, quality of schools, and perception of other NWI residents, the question is not whether Merrillvile is declining. That's already happened. The question now is how bad will the town get... like Gary or will it stay like is now? Agreed 100% with Northwest Indiana that if you look at Merrillville in 10 years from now, it won't be diverse anymore.
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