Indian-American organizations in Indiana concerned over new residential development

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Bharatiya Temple of Northwest Indiana in Merrillville, Indiana (Courtesy: Facebook)

The Indian American Cultural Center and the Bharatiya Temple of Northwest Indiana in Merrillville, Indiana, are concerned over a residential complex that is expected to be built adjacent to their property.

The IACC acquired 14 acres of land in 1999, to build the temple which, according to the organization’s website, was the first of its kind in the state and for which the community came together to raise the funds. “For so many of us who have toiled arm in arm for countless hours over almost two decades to realize our dream of building a cultural center in our area, this day marks dawn of the new era,” organizers say on the center’s website. The center opened March 9, 2002. The Bharatiya Temple of NWI was completed by 2010.

Now they are concerned about how the new development is going to impact their services, and are working with the Plan Commission of Merrillville to resolve issues surrounding the Hunter’s Glen residential development and want developers to be held to account.

According to nwitimes.com, the president of the commission, Town Councilman Shawn Pettit, instructed Planning Director Bill Laird to take Craig Van Prooyen, the developer of Hunter’s Glen who requested to be on the commission’s December agenda, off future agendas until he addressed the several ongoing issues.

Van Prooyen and the IACC developed an agreement regarding how numerous issues would be handled prior to the start of construction of duplexes in the first phase of Hunter’s Glen. Officials said that the agreement between the IACC, the Bharatiya Temple and Van Prooyen, discussed the installation of a beam to block vehicle lights from shining into the Bharatiya Temple and address storm water management issues as well as a retention pond and other drainage concerns.

The Indian-American organizations submitted a list of items to the commission, which they say have not been resolved yet even as work for the residential development is continuing.

“We need to get this solved once and for all,” Pettit is quoted saying in the news report.

Members of IACC also told nwitimes.com that they still haven’t received any information from Van Prooyen as to what actually is taking place at Hunter’s Glen, though this isn’t the first time the commission has discussed delaying decisions about the residential development because of the unresolved issues.

Commission member Brian Dering said he wants Hunter’s Glen to be successful, but the development shouldn’t disturb its neighbors.