Hobart great place with great people, council chief says

2012-02-26T00:00:00Z 2012-04-06T14:51:00Z Hobart great place with great people, council chief saysBy Deborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | City Council President David Vinzant calls Hobart "a great community with great people."

"It's nice to to serve the people in Hobart because they appreciate the services," Vinzant said.

Vinzant, 54, is a third generation Hobart Brickie who tried moving elsewhere a couple of times but kept returning home.

"I keep coming back," Vinzant said.

Hobart is where he and his wife, Leni, chose to raise their family including his two stepchildren, Deanna and Christo Paras.

"I now live four houses down from the house I grew up in," Vinzant said.

Vinzant called this past year in Hobart a year of completion for several major building projects.

Those projects included the grand opening for the newly remodeled Police, Court and Community Complex. And, in conjunction with that project, the past year also saw the opening of the new Maria Reiner Center for senior citizens.

In addition, the City Council also set the stage for additional growth in the downtown by approving the riverfront designation. The riverfront designation encourages new businesses to the downtown by offering them $1,000-a-year liquor licenses.

Officials also met in late January to go over the results of a recent downtown survey to find out what residents want.

"The downtown area will continue to be the focus," Vinzant said.

This past year also saw some major improvements to the dam at Lake George, which is set to be completed by early spring.

Although residential growth stalled in Hobart, it was still a decent year for construction in the city.

Last year there was an overall $25.2 million in total construction with the surge from commercial construction, according to city official Mike Hannigan. That amount is in line with total construction of $26.4 million in 2009 and $24.2 million in 2008.

In coming years, Vinzant said he'd like to see construction at Silverstone Crossing off Mississippi Street north of U.S. 30.

"The nice thing about it is it is in a condition that can be mothballed until the economy improves," Vinzant said.

He predicts this year will see more focus on the city's finances.

"It will be a financially oriented year in that we'll be spending more time on tough decisions as far as what types of cuts we'll have to make," Vinzant said.

Vinzant, the owner and founder of Vinzant Software, started the company in Ogden Dunes but moved it back to Hobart in 1988.

That's because he believes Hobart is "the" place to operate a business and raise a family.

"It's home. ... Life is easier at home," Vinzant said. 

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