CROWN POINT — The city's Plan Commission has approved a request to begin site development for a memorial park dedicated to the memories of soldiers who fought in the 20th century's two world wars.
The 4.5-acre memorial park next to the city's Sportsplex on 109th Avenue will include separate WWI and WWII memorials with a timeline trail connecting them to show the events that occurred between the wars. A small amphitheater for live presentations also is planned along with parking for about 21 vehicles and other walking trails.
Mitch Barloga, president of the Veterans Memorial Parkway Commission, said the goal is to create memorials to each of the nation's conflicts along the corridor from the state line to the Lake/Porter County line. The memorials will be in chronological order. The first phase of the WWI and WWII memorial site will involve the grading and the landscaping.
Barloga said the project is being done with all volunteer labor, but the commission has organizations ready to do the work after the city approves it. Plans for the actual memorials are expected to be presented for the Plan Commission's approval in the next month or two. The city owns the property, but the veterans group has a 99-year lease.
Council President Laura Sauerman lives near the site and said flooding on that corner is a problem and she was concerned the parking lot might add to the problem. A detention pond is planned around the northeast portion of the property, and it will empty into the county drainage ditch.
Sauerman said the planned absence of curbs in the parking lot will cause the pavement to crumble from the flow of water to the pond, and she urged the group to consider adding curbs if money is available. She predicted the memorials will get a lot of traffic.
Councilman Chad Jeffries asked if the park could be entered through a connection from the Sportsplex rather than having a separate driveway. It would mean a bridge over the ditch. Barloga said the group would love to reduce the amount of pavement in the park and might consider restricting it to handicapped parking and other visitors would have to park at the Sportsplex and reach it by an existing sidewalk.