MERRILLVILLE - The town of Merrillville has acquired a more than 160-year-old building seen as an eyesore by residents. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report demolition of the former Old Mill restaurant building could begin as early as next week.

Town Manager Bruce Spires says the town has contracted Ryan Construction to begin asbestos abatement work in the building before beginning the demolition process. The town plans to use Community Development Block Grant funding to pay for the demolition services, according to the publication.

The building was constructed in 1851 originally as a distillery and has since been used for various purposes, including as a mill to ground wheat into flour, as well as a candy store, a school, and different restaurants.

Town Council President Richard Hardaway tells the publication the property will most likely be used as a greenspace. He says the land is located in a flood zone, which prevents any major development from being built there. However, the town could consider installing a gazebo at the site.

The Old Mill building is located at the intersection of 73rd Avenue and Madison Street, and town officials say there are other blighted and vacant structures in that area that are being targeted for demolition as well.