Best Place to Live (NWI)
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.
In what is becoming an annual event, Crown Point again 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 include the YMCA expansion, which will make it the largest in the state, add to the overall quality of life. And the city has added downtown Bulldog Park to hold even more events to attract visitors and residents.
Best Place to Volunteer
Humane Society of Northwest Indiana
6100 Melton Rd.
Cuddling dogs and cats makes for a pretty pleasant work environment, which is probably why the Humane Society of Northwest Indiana was voted the Best Place to Volunteer in The Times poll.
“I have wonderful volunteers,” said Mary Ann Massa, the Humane Society’s volunteer coordinator and office manager. “I couldn’t do this job without my volunteers. I have volunteers who give up their Saturdays and who come in every day we’re open to walk the dogs and hold the cats out of the goodness of their hearts.
“They interact with the cats in addition to holding them. We have volunteers who socialize with the dogs. They are a wonderful group of people who are unselfish and give generously of their time. I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years, and many of the volunteers have become my friends.
“This vote means the world to me. Without their help, the animals would not be socialized, and I couldn’t do it myself. I’m so grateful to them,” Massa said.
3198 E. 83rd Place
Food Bank of Northwest Indiana
Best Place to Work
Maybe they don’t whistle while they work, but employees have once again voted Centier Bank as the Best Place to Work in The Times Best of the Region poll.
“It is an honor to once again be recognized as a Best Place to Work in Northwest Indiana,” Chrisanne Christ, senior partner in Centier’s Human Resource Department, said.
“We are continually looking for ways to improve the lives of our associates both in and out of the office,” Christ said. “We know that by providing a world-class working experience, one with great benefits and opportunities to grow and succeed, our associates will then be happy and productive while they are at work.
“They will also have a greater work-life balance and stay with us for years to come. Because we hire associates that exemplify our Servant Heart Culture, we have a family of individuals who take pride in providing stellar service to others, both to clients and fellow associates alike.”
Maybe they do whistle while they work.
Franciscan Health Hospitals
Best Place to Worship
“It’s good to know people enjoy coming,” Brian Dennert, executive pastor of the Faith Church, said of the church being chosen by Times’ readers as the Best Place to Worship.
“It’s a great honor. We try to be welcoming to all people of all ages and backgrounds,” Dennert said. “We want to be a place that’s open for people to come and explore their faith.”
The church has six campuses in the Region in Dyer, Schererville, Highland, Munster and Cedar Lake and Beecher, Illinois. Dennert said the church, which started in South Holland, moved to the area in the early 2000s “seeking to be a church that has an impact on the area.”
“We think about how we can bless and impact the area so, if we closed our doors, people would be sad because we helped the community and the Region. We have programs for kids that reach kids on their level so they can explore and grow. People like coming here because they feel connected to other people.”
St. John the Evangelist Parish
10701 Olcott Ave.
St. Michael Parish
1 E. Wilhelm St.