Landscape of Porter County changes for the better

2013-03-03T00:00:00Z Landscape of Porter County changes for the betterJohn Scheibel, (219) 548-4358

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood.”

― Daniel Burnham

Some people among us are visionaries. They can picture the future. They have great ideas and can bring them to fruition.

They are people who change a city or town for all of its residents.

I admire people who can do this.

They enrich our communities with their good works.

Over the past year, the works of those people have changed the landscapes of our communities — some in very obvious ways.

One of the past year’s biggest additions to our landscape was the completion of Porter Regional Hospital.

The visionary county officials and former board members knew Porter County residents deserved a state-of-art facility. The sale of the hospital with the stipulation a new building be constructed prompted construction of the new hospital on U.S. 6 at Ind. 49.

After years of planning, Porter successfully opened the new hospital in August with the transfer of patients.

The building itself has transformed that area. It will undoubtedly attract more businesses and act as an economic catalyst for many years.

All along Ind. 49 we've seen changes — especially in the area of health care.

To the north, Addison Pointe has opened in Chesterton, and Franciscan Health has opened the Chesterton Health & Emergency Center at Indian Boundary Road.

To the south, the Valparaiso Health Center of St. Mary Medical Center recently opened at County Road 500 South.

All of these facilities have changed the visual landscape while offering improved services in many areas of health care.

But not all of the changes are related to health care.

Also along Ind. 49, the overpass at Vale Park Road was completed and opened to traffic. The design is striking. It includes decorative lighting, sand-colored walls to simulate the area's dunes, the city's name in large, back lit letters on each side of the overpass and colored concrete stamped in a brick pattern around the roundabouts. It features a pathway for bikes and runners.

Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the project is that it was designed to improve safety. There had been dozens of accidents at that intersection, some fatal, many others causing serious injury.

Valparaiso also found a way to change the landscape of Central Park Plaza, adding a friendly, familiar face to the environment. The statue of popcorn king Orville Redenbacher was unveiled and now greets visitors and people driving by.

In Portage, classes began at the city’s University Center, which houses classrooms used by several area universities. Now students in the Portage area can take university classes closer to home.

Several new restaurants, stores and banks also were built during the past year, proving Portage is a great place to do business.

Every community has the potential to make plans to "stir men's blood." Great communities find a way to make them happen.

John Scheibel is The Times Porter County editor.

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