A $12 million library, two $2 million gas stations with convenience marts and one automated car wash, a $1.5 million Centier Bank branch rebuild and the $4.5 million Bickford of Crown Point Assisted Living and Memory Care highlight Crown Point’s recent commercial construction projects.
“We are very proud that these companies and organizations have chosen to invest in our community," Crown Point Mayor David Uran said. "The creation of new job opportunities and the increase in our tax base ensures that the entire community will benefit from these ventures."
City Planning and Building Administrator Christopher A. Meyers said several new commercial developments are also coming up for review by the Plan Commission.
“Upcoming commercial projects have slightly increased this year to date with 29 new commercial permits at construction costs of $9,432,353,” Meyers said.
The red brick Crown Point Community Library opened at 122 N. Main Street October 21. The state of the art facility has 118 windows with the main entrance facing a beautifully landscaped outdoor seating area.
The three-story, 46,750-square-foot facility replaced the much smaller library at 214 S. Court St. which closed after 40 years use on September 29.
Laura Clemons, Communications Specialist for the Crown Point Library, said the new library includes an internet café, three community meeting rooms, quiet reading and study areas, plenty of seating, a roomy children's area on the second floor, computer lab and a game room for all ages. A commissioned piece of artwork titled “The Reader,” created by local artist Tom Torluemke, graces the second floor atrium.
The library’s opening was a two-week celebration with activities for all ages, including a special Grand Opening event October 28 featuring a flag raising ceremony, a visit from Ronald McDonald and a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“One of the more significant highlights of our building is the Indiana Room,” Clemons said. “The new location is more prominent and encourages browsing.”
“So many patrons comment that they did not know we even had an Indiana Room in the old library due to its location,” Clemons said. “We also have three study rooms located near the computer area that are definitely used and appreciated by the public.”
This space has also allowed the library to offer more programming.
“Prior to this space we would have to hold programs at the Marian Education Center at Franciscan St. Anthony Health,” Clemons said. “Most recently students from the Crown Point Orchestra performed a free string concert and crafters from our five specialized craft groups: crochet, knitting, applique, quilters and spinners showcased their talents.”
Opened in April, the new $1.5 million downtown Centier banking center was designed by Gerometta and Kinel Architects of Chesterton in the image of the bank’s Merrillville Corporate Center. Because the branch is located in a historical district, Centier and its architects worked closely with the Historic Preservation Board to modify the design making sure that it complied with what they deemed appropriate, Centier Senior Partner Carol Highsmith said.
“We really appreciate their help and the help of the city with the project,” Highsmith said.
The general contractor was Thomas D. Combs & Sons of Chesterton with landscaping on the west side by Crown Point’s Hubinger Landscaping and on the east side by Lakeshore Landscaping of Valparaiso with brick for the walkways and fountain provided by Niemeyer’s Landscape Supply of Crown Point.
“Crown Point is a significant market for Centier,” Highsmith said. “Having a strong presence is very important for us especially in the downtown.”
In the building’s vestibule, Highsmith said, is a brand new ATM model called the Smart ATM which facilitates customer deposits.
“It’s the first one for Centier,” Highsmith said. “That was our test site for it. We will install another in the Porter County market. It works very efficiently.”
Highsmith said the facility is energy efficient including the use of LED lighting in the outdoor fountain and in the blue tower and sign above the front entrance.
The Centier branch houses investment and retail banking services. The original structure was built in 1917.
A $2.2 million 3900 square-foot brick Speedway gas station and convenience store opened in February at Broadway and 109th Avenue. Construction is nearing completion on a $2.1 million Family Express gas station, convenience store and automated car wash at North Street and Indiana Avenue. The facility will be energy efficient with LED lighting inside and out.
The $4.5 million Bickford of Crown Point Assisted Living and Memory Care at 140 E. 107th Avenue (just east of Broadway), is expected open in September and employ about 42 people. The facility had a showcase event Aug. 8 and is now open for tours. Any one who tours Bickford by August 31 will be treated to frozen yogurt from nearby new business Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. Tours can be arranged by calling (219) 663-0972.
Food grower and processor Van Drunen Farms has purchased the 125,000 square-foot former Dawn Foods plant at 1300 E. Summit St. Opening within the next year, Van Drunen is expected to create 26 jobs and spend $5 million in new equipment. According to the company website, Van Drunen Farms grows and processes organic and conventional food ingredients for the food industry.