CROWN POINT — Residents attending Mayor David Uran’s recent meet-and-greet learned about the start of plans to plot the future of the Hub Pool after the Southlake Y expansion is complete, the latest schedule for the downtown civic center and park and the city's efforts to help hurricane victims.
The meeting was held at the YMCA, so Uran took the opportunity to remind people of the groundbreaking ceremony at 9 a.m. Thursday for the expansion project. With several officials from the Y present, Uran invited residents to ask questions about the project or about the Y in general. One man asked why the Y doesn’t accept the SilverSneakers fitness program that allows Medicare recipients to take advantage of many programs the Y offers free of charge.
A Y spokesman said the program has a lot of paperwork, and the Y would have to hire someone just to handle it. After considering the program recently, the Y decided it was not feasible at this time, but it would consider it again in the future. The spokesman said the Y does offer a discount membership rate for seniors that allows them to use all the facilities and programs free. The Y also has a scholarship program for those who still can’t afford membership.
Uran said the city has hired an engineering firm to begin planning for the area around the Hub Pool, located in Sauerman’s Woods Park. The new Y will have three pools, including an outdoor one, and Uran said the city is willing to invest in keeping the Hub Pool open for one more year until the new Y is done. After that, the park could be used as the site of a lake to relieve stormwater flooding in the surrounding neighborhoods. The other activities in the park would continue and probably be enhanced.
He said another groundbreaking will be held soon for the new Civic Center Park just off the downtown square. Borings are being done to prepare for construction, which he said probably will be in full swing in the spring with the opening of the park slated for late fall or early winter. In addition to the civic center with offices for the parks department and meeting rooms for the public, the site will have a hockey rink under roof that can be used for the farmers market, car cruise and other events in the warmer weather, rain or shine. It also will have a band shell for concerts, theatrical productions and other activities.
The Dean and Barbara White Foundation, which is funding much of the Y expansion, also has donated about half the cost of the downtown park, which Uran said means it will open debt free or with a very small debt.
Asked about the fate of the John Dillinger Museum in the historic Old Lake County Courthouse, Uran said that was strictly a partnership between the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and the Court House Foundation, but the two apparently had a disagreement over the contract and “the marriage seems to be on rocky terms.” He said the city is not involved, but the museum was good for bringing people to the downtown.
A woman complained about the lack of downtown parking, saying she no longer shops downtown as a result. Uran cited a recent study done for the city that showed it has plenty of parking and added he was downtown around 1 p.m. that day and saw 45 available parking spaces on the square. He said the valet parking provided by Prime Steakhouse has been successful, and another business is considering doing it on the other side of the square.
The city also announced plans to become a sister city to Alvin, Texas, a suburb of Houston and one of the area’s hard hit by Harvey. Alvin was selected because it is similar in size to Crown Point and has a downtown square similar to the historic venue in Crown Point. Also, many people in Crown Point have friends or relatives in the Texas city, so it seemed to be a good fit and a way for residents to help the flood victims that doesn’t involve going through national organizations.
The city’s website, www.crownpoint.in.gov, lists the sort of donations needed most and the five churches that have agreed to serve as drop-off sites for donations. Cash donations can be made to a special fund set up at the First Midwest Bank, 1100 N. Main St., or online at the Crown Point Cares prompt on the city’s website. Uran said Superior Petroleum has trucks that travel to the Alvin area, and the company agreed to transport the donated items for free.
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