The best living in Northwest Indiana as voted on by Times readers.
Best Place to Live
Winning the crown as the best place to live means a community has to do a lot of things right, Crown Point Mayor David Uran said. And he should know.
In what is becoming an annual event, Crown Point beat Valparaiso and St. John in the Best of the Region poll of readers. Doing well in many areas creates the quality of life that keeps earning the city that honor, Uran said.
"It starts with the general theme of Crown Point being a safe place to live," he said. "We also have award-winning amenities for young people and the elderly to enjoy outside the home. We have quality schools that provide a top-notch education to the kids. Combine that with the restaurants and other businesses and our proximity to Chicago, and it all adds up to a great place to live."
Uran said the city's Sportsplex on the east side is a huge draw popular with residents and nonresidents alike. "They see what a warm and welcoming community we have. The economic engine it creates helps retain and add to the commercial jobs and the values of the homes."
Infrastructure plans in place to meet the community's needs including the YMCA expansion, which will make it the largest in the state, add to the overall quality of life. To keep the winning streak going, the city is adding the downtown Bulldog Park this year to make it possible to hold even more events to attract visitors and residents.
"It's just another piece of the quality of life that preserves property values," Uran said. "We're working hard to make sure what we are trying to achieve is working. Having these achievements is a team effort of the residents, the business owners and the city employees to make sure we have a clean safe environment in place.
"Working together is how we get the success we're having," Uran said. "We're hitting all the milestones high to keep our values high."
Best Place to Volunteer
Humane Society of Northwest Indiana
6100 Melton Rd.
The Humane Society of Northwest Indiana has long been taking in unwanted and stray animals and finding them new homes.
“We're one of the oldest ones,” said Freida White, the organization's executive director.
Volunteers always are needed to assist with the operations, and the people who donate their time there are committed to helping, White said.
“They really have a heart for the animals,” she said of the volunteers, “We would love to have more (people to assist there).”
She said volunteers walk dogs at the shelter, help clean the facility, play with puppies and kittens to socialize them, help with fundraisers and foster animals.
“I can't say enough about them,” White said, “ I can call on them anytime.”
Humane Indiana (Formerly Humane Society Calumet Area)
421 45th Ave.
Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana
8446 Virginia St.
Best Place to Work
“When we interview candidates, we emphasize our corporate culture,” explains Chrisanne Christ, senior partner and director of human resources at Centier Bank. “More important than your education or past experience, we want to make sure that your personality is a good fit for the team we envision you joining.”
Centier conducts personality tests with each candidate to find those who are team oriented. “It sounds cliché, but we really want employees who will elevate the team,” Christ said. “We don’t want our employees to view team members as competition, but as resources who can help achieve their service goals through collaboration.”
Through the service goals established for each team, employees of Centier have ample opportunities for growth. Some candidates are hired for positions other than the one for which they applied, because Centier felt there was a great fit in another department.
“It’s important that our employees are flexible enough to feel comfortable with that mindset,” Christ said. “That translates into great service providers for our customers.
Community Healthcare System
801 E. 86th Ave.
Best Place to Worship
If you attend services at any one of Faith Church’s six area locations, you know its members are dedicated to their motto: restoring the world one relationship at a time. “That happens through our many ministries,” explains Senior Pastor Bob Bouwer. The church’s campuses include one in Illinois. Ministries range from worship services to tutoring elementary school children to addiction recovery and grief support.
“Something that’s pretty unique about our church is our Reflectors Ministry,” says Bouwer. This ministry serves people with special needs and their families. Several locations offer worship experiences for kids, teens and adults with special needs. And support includes retreats and social activities.
On a given weekend, around 3,500 people attend services at one of Faith Church’s campuses.
St. Thomas More Church
8501 Calumet Ave.