CROWN POINT | Mayor David Uran's vision for the city's future is grounded on building blocks assembled over the past several years.
Since winning election to a first term in 2008, "I've been getting the team together to make this community stronger," said Uran, now in a second term.
The components Uran and his administration put in place are geared to attracting economic development.
A new highway interchange opened in 2010 off of Interstate 65 at 109th Avenue, providing a new gateway to the city and a springboard for opportunity.
City officials last year rezoned land at I-65 and 109th Avenue to permit commercial business on vacant former farmland or land once zoned for residential development.
Hopes are to bring hotels, restaurants and other commercial ventures to the intersection, and perhaps from there to bring tourism dollars into the city.
The city in 2011 worked with state highway officials to improve Broadway from 93rd Avenue to U.S. 231, a major north-south artery just west of I-65.
Nationwide senior-housing chain Bickford Senior Living started building a new facility at the 109th Avenue and Broadway intersection last year.
Heading west from I-65 toward the downtown on 109th Avenue, a 95-acre, city-owned sports complex was upgraded last year to include three new softball fields suitable for tournament level play. A new concession and restroom building is being constructed.
Two artificial turf football/soccer playing fields were installed at the sports complex in an earlier round of upgrades, which included improved access to the complex, a new concession and restroom building, added parking and other amenities.
Where 109th Avenue intersects Indiana Avenue closer to the city's core, improvements are planned in a newly named revitalization district, which already has spurred plans for a Family Express gas station, convenience store and car wash at the location.
Meanwhile, the city is improving infrastructure, rehabilitating a large segment of West Street and its underlying sewer system, and continuing work to separate sanitary and storm sewers throughout the city.
A new $12 million library opened in October in the downtown.
"The library is going to stand the test of time," Uran predicted.
Rules regulating rental housing for the first time in the city's history went into effect this year.
"That will protect our investment in the city and make sure people have quality places to live," Uran said.
Combined with a strong school system, the other components "all are coming together at the same time," Uran said.
"This only makes things stronger going forward," Uran said.