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Valparaiso chamber recognizes businesses which have built, revitalized buildings

Dr. Stephen Buck accepts a Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce Community Improvement Award Tuesday during a luncheon at Valparaiso University. Buck received the award for the refurbishing of the Lincoln Flats building, 1 Napoleon, which his family has owned since 1947.

VALPARAISO — Fifteen companies or organizations were recognized last month for improving the city through building projects.

Ranging from renovations to ground up new construction, the companies were presented Community Improvement Awards for their creativity, innovation and enhancement of the quality of life of Valparaiso, said chairman of the chamber's board Todd Leeth.

"This has always been one of my favorite events," said Leeth, adding it showcases the city's growth, redevelopment and revitalization.

Chamber director Rex Richards said the founder of the event 51 years ago, local radio celebrity Len Ellis would have been proud.

"Thank you for the concept," Richards said.

Porter County government received one of the awards for the reconstruction of the Porter County Administration Center Plaza, including underground heating and an underground storm water storage system.

"It was always intended to be an extension of downtown Valparaiso," said Porter County Commission President Jeff Good, R-Center, in accepting the award. "We are very proud to be part of that spirit in Valparaiso. This is a great recognition and we are very proud."

Valparaiso Community Schools also received an award.

"We can't thank the community enough," said Superintendent Julie Lauck, also thanking former superintendent E. Ric Frataccia for shepherding through a referendum which allowed the district to build a new elementary school and renovate the remaining schools.

"It is amazing our buildings are what they are, thanks to everyone here," said Lauck.

The Porter County Career and Technical Center also received an award for the renovation and expansion of its building to provide more space for its 450 students. Valparaiso University also received an award fro the construction of the Center for the Sciences building.

Others receiving awards were: 1st Source Bank for the demolition and construction of a new building; Aftermath Cidery & Winery/15 Washington for facade reconstruction; Casey's General Store for the construction of two new buildings; Kent Heating and Air Conditioning for its new building on Roosevelt Road; Lincoln Flats, 1 Napoleon, for the restoration of the nearly century-owned building in downtown Valparaiso; Living Hope Community Church for facade renovations; Meijer for its new store and gas station; Porter County Aging and Community Services, Inc. for exterior renovations; Valparaiso parks Department for improvements at Tower Park including the new baseball field and basketball court; Von Tobel Lumber for facade improvements and Zao Island for The Greenhouse, a new wedding and event center.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.