(photo courtesy of the town of St. John)

The town of St. John is looking to create a riverfront district. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report the proposed district would allow the town to receive additional liquor licenses that would cost significantly less than what is currently available.

The district would be located in the town’s main commercial district, stretching from 109th Avenue to 96th Avenue.

The Times reports the town is completely out of licenses, meaning the only way new restaurants can obtain them is by purchasing them from other businesses for up to $500,000. If the area were a riverfront district, the town would receive more licenses and each would cost a standard price of $1,000.

Jack Slager of Schilling Development, which owns the majority of the unoccupied land in the district, said he could “envision a nice draw” that would feature restaurants with outdoor dining, a banquet hall and a boutique hotel.

“Most people in town are just hoping that it [the land] does not become a strip mall. They are not going to get a strip mall, they are going to get something very special,” said Town Councilman Mike Aurelio. “There is a certain style to the town and we are not looking to go far away from what St. John is.”

The publication reports next step will be drafting an ordinance designating the area a riverfront district. The proposal will have to be approved by the state before the process is finalized.