CROWN POINT — The city will pay $750,000 for a long-shuttered greenhouse property, with plans to turn it into a new $10 million to $11 million City Hall and police building, officials reported Wednesday.

Mayor David Uran earlier this week announced the planned purchase of the seven-acre greenhouse property, and the City Council approved a resolution for the purchase agreement.

On Wednesday, the Board of Public Works supported the plan and divulged the estimated costs.

City leaders continue viewing the plan as a means to update city facilities while transforming a long-unused property with decaying buildings.

"It's probably the No. 1 piece of property that residents and visitors look at and say, 'What can we do with this site,'" Uran said.

The Lake County Greenhouse, at the intersection of North Street and Indiana Avenue, closed more than a dozen years ago. 

"It's been dormant," Uran said. "It's a blighted area."

Uran said the acreage of the property always has been a challenge for other prospective commercial developments and that a public safety facility consolidated with a City Hall "is the highest and best use of that property."

The new facility would be near the downtown square and contiguous with the nearby youth Sportsplex. 

"It's very accessible, and it's in a strategic spot," Councilman Bob Clemons said.

On Wednesday, the zoning board also approved two contracts for the project — one for $876,045 with Skillman Corp. for the pre-construction phase of the project and another for $36,700 with DVG Inc. for the environmental survey work and to prepare demolition plans for the existing greenhouse buildings.

City officials hope to begin construction on the facility in June or July. 

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New Crown Point City Hall site?

Trees grow through the rooftops of glass greenhouses on the site of the shuttered Lake County Greenhouse in Crown Point. The long-closed site is being proposed as a location of a new Crown Point City Hall and public safety building. The site is contiguous with the city's youth sportsplex, which has seen significant investment in recent years.

The city began searching for sites for new municipal facilities in August when an assessment contract with Wheaton, Illinois-based architectural firm McClaren, Wilson & Lawrie Inc. was approved.

The assessment included the highest and best use of property, a cost analysis, public access and the option of building a new facility or using an existing one.

"This location came back No. 1 by leaps and bounds," Uran said. 

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Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.