MERRILLVILLE | Crown Point and Merrillville saw multiple improvements in 2012, and leaders from both communities expect positive activity to continue.
During the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce State of the Region event on Friday, Crown Point Mayor David Uran announced the city secured $2 million from local businessman and philanthropist Dean White for the third phase of improvements to the city-owned sports complex.
Three new softball fields and other amenities were added in the second phase of work on the complex, whose main entrance is in the 1300 block of North Street.
Uran said he and other city officials "strive to make Crown Point a great place to live, work and play."
He said Crown Point led the county with 196 new home starts in 2012. He said 162 of those were for single-family homes.
The city hired a new police officer last year, and Crown Point plans to continue to invest in public safety by hiring additional officers in 2013, Uran said.
Merrillville Town Councilman Shawn Pettit said hiring 12 full-time firefighters, the start of a drainage project on Taft Street, and improvements at Town Hall were among highlights from last year in Merrillville.
"It's been a very busy year in 2012," Pettit said.
The town expects additional development this year after Dawn Food Products and Horizon Financial Management each announced it will be locating in the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads development, Pettit said.
Merrillville continues planning a project to widen Mississippi Street to four lanes from 83rd Avenue to 101st Avenue, he said.
Merrillville Schools Superintendent Tony Lux and Crown Point Schools Superintendent Teresa Eineman also discussed the success at each of the school districts.
Lux said Merrillville has a 90 percent graduation rate, and Eineman indicated Crown Point's graduation rate is at 98 percent.
Although each of the school districts has experienced accomplishments, the two superintendents explained there have been funding issues that have affected public schools throughout Indiana.
Lux said $300 million was taken away from public education in the state, and that money hasn't been replaced.