VALPARAISO | The city and the architects at Design Organization have been tossing around ideas for the expansion of Valparaiso's Central Park Plaza for a year.
Now it's the public's turn to join the discussions.
The two-hour public meetings will be held today at 4 and 7 p.m. to show the public what is being considered and to get the public input on those ideas as well as hearing what ideas the public might have for the park. Both sessions will be at City Hall.
The city bought the office building across Indiana Avenue from the Porter County Administration Center last year, tore down the building and temporarily planted grass. Being considered for the half-block parcel is a pavilion to be used as an ice rink in the winter and as a covered space for events all year.
Along with the pavilion, a warming shelter/concession stand and an enclosed fireplace are proposed. The project is expected to cost between $2 million and $3 million to be paid for through donations, sponsorships, grants and other fundraising efforts without using any tax money.
The goal is to have the money raised in time to start construction in the spring. Parks Director John Seibert said the city hopes to get downtown businesses and property owners involved in today's sessions along with Valparaiso residents.
Seibert said today's sessions will not involve any formal presentation. People will be able to view the plans and ask questions or make suggestions to representatives from Design Organization or the city administration.
Mayor Jon Costas, City Administrator Bill Oeding and Seibert will be among those at the meetings.
"We always learn something at these sessions, and we hope to be able to answer questions," Seibert said. "We sent invitations to 51 businesses around the park, so there could be some good recommendations that we could incorporate in the plan."