Lake Station mayor focuses on quality of life

2013-02-24T00:00:00Z 2014-04-16T17:56:10Z Lake Station mayor focuses on quality of lifeBy Deborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | Residents thirsting for improved water quality will have it in place by spring 2014, Mayor Keith Soderquist said.

That's when the city's new water filtration plant is anticipated to be completed, Soderquist said.

"We'll be starting the project this spring as soon as weather permits and it's expected to be completed in 12 months," Soderquist said.

The city last December awarded a $7.7 million contract to Thieneman Construction of Westfield, Ind., to serve as general contractor for the first phase of the water improvement project.

Those improvements will include the new water supply wells, new groundwater treatment plant and water main upgrades, Soderquist said. Construction of a new water plant is part of an ongoing pledge by Soderquist to improve the quality of life for Lake Station residents.

"Whether it's putting in new sewers and water or building a new City Hall, it's all about improving the quality of life," Soderquist said.

The new municipal complex/police department, into which all departments moved last year, has earned recognition for its green initiatives, Soderquist said. Lake Station received an environmental stewardship award from NIPSCO for its "green efforts."

The complex's environmentally friendly features include wind turbines, rain gardens, an underground geothermal system for heating and cooling, solar lighting and a green roof system.

"We have the greenest government center in Indiana," Soderquist said.

The mayor said he's fielded countless inquiries about the environmental friendly features of the new complex, including a recent one from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

"Our new goal is sharing what we've done," Soderquist said.

The city this year also will start marketing the site of the former municipal complex/police department at the intersection of Central Avenue and Ind. 51. Soderquist said the location is a good one for a new business since it's one of the area's busiest intersections.

The city is considering several options to make the location even more attractive to developers, including turning it into a tax increment financing district.

Other upcoming projects:

  • Making major roadway improvements to County Line Road at Central Avenue, a project in partnership with Portage.
  • Starting the Fairview Walking Trail, paid for partly through grants.
  • Continuing enhancement to Grand Boulevard Lake.

"Last year we stocked the lake with fish for the first time in 30 years, and we plan to stock it again this year," Soderquist said.

Soderquist said improving the quality of life, which he has continued to push, doesn't always mean big projects such as a new City Hall.

He also has initiated family-friendly events such as a free movie night with the mayor and an annual Septemberfest.

A new Field of Dreams sports complex for young residents also is nearing completion, with several fields ready for play.

"We're rolling out the new Field of Dreams program this spring, and we're very excited about it," Soderquist said.

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