With a population reaching 30,000, Crown Point has grown close to 50 percent since 2000, according to City-Data.com.
Managing that residential growth and the supporting cast of commercial, infrastructure and education needs is the challenge for the city’s leadership.
With one eye on the present and the other on the future, the city’s administration keeps the balance via thorough planning.
In a recent telephone interview, Mayor Dave Uran detailed the importance of Crown’s Point $19 million upgrade to its water supply. “By doubling our capacity now, we’re going to be able to provide safe, clean water for the next three decades. In addition, we’re going to put the city on solid financial ground,” he said.
Crown Point will double the capacity to six tanks from three. That will allow the city to purchase water for storage during off times, when costs are lower. “We’re going to be able to stay ahead of demand,” he said. “We’re also upgrading the water infrastructure to help provide clean water today and tomorrow, replacing pipes and mains before they break.”
Commercial developers have long eyed the Beacon Hill District as a place for expansion, especially office buildings. The city has embarked on road infrastructure projects needed to support the expected growth. The Summit Street expansion east toward I-65, and the Delaware Street expansion north to 109th Avenue are two main areas in the plan.
“We need to make the connection to I-65 in that area,” said Anthony Schleuter, city planner. “That opens the area to additional expansion. The improvements on 109th will eliminate much of the congestion and help us keep traffic flowing smoother.”
The 109th project includes left-turn lanes, medians, and lighting. “It’ll provide more of a boulevard look,” Schleuter said.
In addition, the city will pave up to 10 miles of road that received poor grades in the annual Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating report. “We want to repave 10 miles of city road annually,” Uran said. “We plan on making that our annual goal. If we can do that, we’ll pave all roads in a 15-year span.”
Roads on the list for 2019 include Delaware Parkway from East 111th Court to 109th, East Summit from Madison Street to Broadway, and West 101st Avenue from Madison to Broadway.
The long-anticipated Bulldog Park opened late May with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to showcase the $10 million facility.
With a splash pad, amphitheater, and pavilion, the park is expected to become a destination for the city. The annual corn roast moved into the park in early June, heralding the transition from the Courthouse Square.
“Bulldog Park allows us to have activities without closing down the Square and interrupting traffic and businesses,” Uran said. “We’ll also be able to host additional activities such as concerts to draw people to our downtown.”
The park's Olympic-size ice rink opened in mid-December and attracted 17,000 skaters, according to Uran. “The profit from the first season was $44,000,” he said. “That was after our expenses to keep the ice rink operational. A great first year.”
The city's Sportsplex brought in 900 teams that played 2,000 games on the newly installed baseball and softball fields. “It’s a ripple effect,” Uran said. “Those teams and their families frequent restaurants and other attractions in town and help our local economy.”
The Dean and Barbara White Southlake YMCA opened in April. Its 80,000-square-foot expansion was made possible by a $21 million grant from the Dean and Barbara White Foundation. New features include studios for cycling and yoga, a large renovated basketball court, new indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a new fitness gym and an indoor walking track.
“Investments like the YMCA are important for our community,” Uran said. “It provides our residents the opportunity to meet their needs within Crown Point.”
Crown Point has been voted Best Place to Live and Best Downtown in The Times Best of the Region polling for 10 consecutive years. The Hub of Lake County, as it is known, was named the fourth safest city in Indiana in SafeWise's 2019 annual report. “We’re very proud of our low crime rate and safe designation,” Uran said. “Residents want to feel secure in their community and their homes. Our outstanding police force and first responders provided the quality services that allow us to be recognized for safety.”
Crown Point High School is rated 10/10 by GreatSchools.org, the highest rating possible. Robert Taft Middle school was rated 8/10 and John Wheeler Middle School 7/10. Two elementary schools, Jerry Ross and Solon Robinson, received 9/10, and Eisenhower and Lake Street Elementary schools 8/10.
“When you provide residents with great schools, low crime rates, and low city taxes, they want to live here,” Uran said. “Those are major reasons for the residential numbers.”
Uran was referring to the 256 housing permits issued in 2018, and the average of 225 annual housing permits the last several years. The average home built in Crown Point is valued at $336,000, according to Uran.