LAKE STATION | Life in Lake Station continues to only get better for longtime resident Edward Grinder.
Grinder, 63, has called the city his home since he was 7 and can't imagine living anywhere else.
"What I see today, anyone would be foolish not to move into Lake Station. There's so much change and so much improvement," Grinder said.
He points to the new municipal complex/fire department that was opened late last year near the Lake Station/New Chicago branch of the Lake County Public Library.
And Grinder said he's equally proud of the renovations that have taken place at the park at Grand Boulevard Lake. It now offers numerous recreational activities including jogging, picnicking and boating.
Grinder also enjoys the city's various festivals including the three-year-old Septemberfest, which is held on Labor Day weekend.
"It's a fantastic event and brings everyone together. Everyone gets to know each other," Grinder said.
Grinder, who served as a Lake Station police officer from 1970 to 1990, recalls a rowdier time in the downtown when fights would break out at some of the local bars.
"Just about once a shift there would be a fight within a bar. When we got a call we knew we'd better be ready to fight," Grinder said.
And Grinder can recall the time when Lake Station was called by another name, East Gary.
The city was known as Lake Station as far back as 1852, when it served as a depot on Michigan Central Railroad's Detroit-to-Chicago line, a city history states.
But the name Lake Station was officially changed to East Gary in 1908 in an attempt to lure executives from the nearby U.S. Steel plant in Gary, according to history written about the city.
In 1977, the city reverted to the more historical designation of Lake Station.
Just a few years prior to 1977, the city also annexed additional property.
"Before that we were just a bedroom community. ... We gained a lot more territory," Grinder said.
Although Grinder worked as a police officer and for the federal protection service, many of his family moved to Lake County to work in the steel mills.
"My family migrated from Tennessee, and we've been here ever since," Grinder said.
He said growing up in Lake Station was small town at its finest with everyone knowing everyone's name.
Grinder and his wife raised their six children there.
"I've grown my roots here," Grinder said.
He sees the city only continuing to get better and better for all age groups.
"It's not just for one age group. There's things to do for toddlers to 80. Now is the time to move to Lake Station if you want to enjoy life," Grinder said.