CROWN POINT | The city's first roundabout, a downtown park, a new fire department substation and even a new city hall could all become reality in the next few years in Crown Point.
"When we start looking at the five-year capital improvements plan, we look at ways to improve the workforce and our facilities to benefit the community," Mayor David Uran said.
"For the police and fire departments, we're looking to add more officers as we grow and give them the tools they need to do their job."
Part of upgrading the equipment and adding tools could include a new fire station on the city's east side in the vicinity of 109th Avenue and Iowa Street. Uran said that area is expected to grow with new housing as well as the planned commercial development near the Interstate 65 interchange on 109th, and land for the substation could become available.
The new public works campus on Industrial Drive will see the addition of a maintenance building this spring, and Uran said, over the next five years, the emphasis will be on cross-training employees to handle any public works job. This will enable the department to "get more hands on deck" in an emergency situation, he said.
The city is in the process of updating its website to make it more user-friendly. The process will include adding technology to make it possible to pay bills online and get more information about city events, recreational programs and more.
A facilities study now being done of all the city's buildings could lead to a number of improvements, including an updated or new city hall.
"We are always looking to provide amenities to those who serve the community," Uran said. "You are seeing some of that with the new public works campus. With the facilities study, we should be able to put a pretty good road map together with the council for the next few years."
That road map will decide the future of city hall and whether it is better to invest the money to update its old, inefficient utilities or whether a new building would be a better use of tax dollars.
The roundabout at 93rd Avenue and Chase Street and the new trailhead adjacent to it should be reality by the end of the year or next year, and Uran said the city has applied for funding for another roundabout at 109th and Iowa.
A much bigger road improvement project will be the widening of 109th from Broadway to I-65.
"We're at 18,000 cars a day at last count, and there would be more if it was in better condition," he said of the probable expansion to five lanes to accommodate all the expected development in the area.
That development could include a hotel, restaurants and the $100 million Galleria lifestyle shopping center that also will require the extension of Delaware Parkway north of 109th.
The city is working to make improvements on North Main Street, but a project Uran said could be a "game-changer" is the creation of a downtown park with a band shell on property now owned by the school district.
"We are having positive talks with the schools, and we still hope it will be accomplished in the next five years," he said. "Then the reality of a downtown parking facility would follow suit. We would look for parking situations to make the downtown even stronger than it is now."
What the city can't pay for with redevelopment commission dollars could come from state and federal grants to cover 80 to 90 percent of the cost. Once the city knows what grant money will be available, it can line up the matching local funding, but Uran said he hopes to have many of the road improvements done in the next two or three years.
Development of the Sportsplex is nearing completion with the dome being open for business and construction of two buildings for sports-related businesses or activities at the entrance to the park moving ahead. The city also plans to construct more parking and extend Bulldog Boulevard with pedestrian bridges over the drainage ditch in the middle of the complex.
Uran has said he hopes to build two tennis courts and two basketball courts on a surface that can be used as an ice rink in the cold weather, complete with refrigeration. A second ice rink with refrigeration capability also is projected for the proposed downtown park. The skate park at the complex will eventually be moved to another site within the 90-plus acres and a new parks department office built at the current skate park site.
Other plans for the city's parks will concentrate on some of the aging facilities. Uran said playground equipment in the older parks will be replaced, and the city will have to make a decision on the future of the Hub Pool.
"The Hub Pool has to be improved," he said. "She's on her last legs, so either we will have to make significant improvements or we would look to partner with someone, especially the Southlake Y, to see if we can integrate our pool passes with them."
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