CROWN POINT | Grounded by its historic downtown, the city is adding amenities officials hope will position it for future economic growth.
A stadium able to host girls softball tournament play on a large scale was part of a master plan unveiled in December for the city sports complex.
The softball stadium, capable of hosting local, regional and national tournaments, would be the latest jewel in the complex, where two artificial turf football/soccer playing fields were installed last year as part of a $3 million first phase of renovations.
Enhancements to the sports complex, on North Street, would help drive tourism and economic development in the city, Mayor David Uran said, calling them "the engine that would drive that."
Other amenities could someday include a year-round sports venue in the complex, Uran said.
Meanwhile, access to the city has grown easier thanks to a couple of recent highway improvement projects.
North Street became a new gateway when state officials in late 2010 opened an interchange off of Interstate 65 at 109th Avenue, which becomes North Street west of Broadway.
Another $6 million in state highway improvements to a stretch of Broadway in Crown Point were completed late last year, adding turn lanes and turn signals to ease traffic flow through the area.
Easy access to I-65, and from there to Interstate 94, via the 109th Avenue interchange sparked interest by the owners of a Chicago area bakery ingredient supply company to eye a site in the Crown East commercial/industrial development, though the company has yet to confirm a move.
A commercial center on 24 acres has been proposed just west of the 109th Avenue intersection with Broadway, where a service station and a tire store are among possible occupants.
The Old Lake County Courthouse, more than 100 years old, continues to anchor the downtown.
A new $12 million library, under construction on Main Street north of the court house, is expected to add vibrancy and encourage foot traffic when it is opens late this year or early next year.