Hammond City Hall should be re-located downtown, and the city may have to find creative ways to make that happen.
“If we show that we have confidence in downtown, than business owners will see that as an example and be more likely to move there themselves,” said Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. “Downtown is where the white-collar jobs are. It should be a place where people come to work and then stay in the area for a bite to eat and a drink.”
Attracting business to the area would be a prime benefit of the move, McDermott said.
During his keynote speech at a Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday at Dynasty Banquets, the Mayor said the historic Calumet Building (now home to First Midwest Bank) would be the ideal location for City Hall.
“We have a gentleman’s agreement that whenever we are ready, they will sell it to us,” he told a crowd of about 150 chamber members and Hammond residents. “It (The Calumet Building) looks like a City Hall. It will take a lot of money, so we may need to find a creative way to make that happen.”
“If we were Downtown,” the Mayor said during a Monday interview with NWIndiana Life, “people would come Downtown to support the city and give confidence to investors. We would be reinforcing that we believe in Downtown Hammond.”
Relocating would come at a cost of about $10 million, the Mayor said, which “would be on the cheap side” for a city of Hammond’s size. “A move like that would usually cost more.”
“It’s hard to find a city where the City Hall is not downtown,” McDermott added. “You look at Valparaiso, Michigan City, Highland and almost all other cities in the area. They are all downtown and Hammond isn’t.”
The current City Hall, located at 5925 Calumet Ave., has been around since the 1930s.