Celebrate vibrant, visionary Valparaiso

2013-03-10T00:00:00Z Celebrate vibrant, visionary ValparaisoBy Jon Costas nwitimes.com
March 10, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In Valparaiso, we have so much to celebrate in the way we work and play and live each day.

Some of the most visible accomplishments include infrastructure and the way we get around.

Just five years ago we became the first area community to introduce a roundabout – or traffic circle. I’m pleased to report that roundabouts work, and we just finished work on our fifth one. Our residents and visitors are appreciating the efficiency and the reduction in serious accidents.

Just a few months ago, we finished our most recent roadway project – a beautiful overpass and lighted entranceway to our city. The project includes a paved pathway so those on foot and on bikes can also use the roadway safely.

In Valparaiso, we’re really focused on pathways in our city, as we think walkability means livability. We have nearly 12 miles of pedestrian pathways and more on the drawing board.

It’s also easy to get around our city by bus. Both of our bus services posted record ridership last year. The V-Line helps us get around town and has proven to be a wonderful resource for students, seniors, families and anyone who wants to leave the driving to us. Our ChicaGo Dash express bus to Chicago provides a quick, convenient ride, and we have residents who have chosen Valpo as their new home because of the easy bus ride to work in the city.

But in Valparaiso we play as hard as we work.

In 2011 we added a fantastic new downtown park, and it has become the place to gather these days. Central Park Plaza hosted more than 100 events last year – everything from summer movie nights to our holiday celebration. We’ve hosted a hugely successful Brew Fest, school pep rallies and more.

Surrounding the park, our downtown is happening! We have more than 10 new restaurants, plus successful boutiques and businesses. We’re even looking to expand the downtown park to offer year-round fun such as a skating rink and open-air pavilion.

Yet we’re also a peaceful and safe community. Our highly trained police department is one of just 13 in Indiana to have earned accreditation from the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation, and our dedicated fire department enhances safety with our own ambulance service.

We’re a community that works and that works together. We've partnered with our school systems to offer grants that help students learn 21st century job skills. Partnerships like these happen every day in our community.

A look ahead brings even more excitement for Valpo as we’re in the planning stages of a $22 million enhancement of U.S. 30, making this corridor even better for business and providing more of a gateway to our city. We’re partnering with landowners and developers to create shovel-ready sites to welcome further growth and jobs to our city.

We truly have so much to celebrate in Valparaiso. Come take a look at our hometown and Orville Redenbacher’s, too. Things are truly popping in Valpo.

Jon Costas is mayor of Valparaiso. The opinions are the writer's.

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