MUNSTER — The Plan Commission approved a revamped development plan last week for the first official building in Centennial Village.

Town officials visited the site earlier this month and decided the look of the building, a Springhill Suites Hotel, was not what they’d had in mind. Developer representatives had been working with staff since Sept. 12 to come up with a new plan, which was presented to the Plan Commission during last week's special meeting.

In addition to the changes on-site, which mostly involve aesthetics and landscaping, town officials also accepted a $300,000 letter of credit guaranteeing the changes will be completed.

The Centennial Village development team also agreed to donate $75,000 toward public sculpture, which will be completed by 2022.

“I’m happier with the way it looks,” said Commissioner John Reed, also a Town Council member, after the changes were reviewed. The vote to approve the revamping plan was unanimous.

Centennial Village has been a lengthy and involved project, as Commissioner William Baker noted at the beginning of the meeting.

“We’ve been talking about this for 2½ years,” he told the small audience of residents. “(You’re getting to listen in on) the last part of it.” The special Plan Commission meeting did not allow for public comment.

Located at the former home of Munster Steel along Calumet Avenue, Centennial Village is a direct neighbor of the planned 45th Street/Calumet Avenue underpass project, which not only will redirect traffic but also provide the area with a facelift and new recreational opportunities. The village site itself is envisioned as a downtown area where locals can shop and dine as well as live.

The approved hotel modifications include fence screening around the building’s condensing units, awnings on all four sides of the building and two trees between Centennial Drive’s north curb and the sidewalk on the south side of the hotel.

Commissioner Andy Koultourides and others asked for additional trees in that same location, and Centennial officials said the site might be large enough to contain at least one more tree, possibly two.

Developer representative Jeff Ban said the modifications likely will be completed by Christmas as long as good weather holds up.

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News Editor/Lake County Editor