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Skate park competition

More than 30 skateboarders participated Saturday in the Illiana Skateboard Circuit skateboard competition at Hammond's Hessville Park. 

Around every Region corner are fresh and ongoing examples of a deliberate desire to create quality and sense of place.

Our Region must celebrate and plan to expand upon these great assets, rather than lamenting our shortcomings, if we want to move ahead.

Last week, it was the opening of Hessville Park Skate Park, already being praised as one of the premier skateboarding locations within a 50-mile radius.

“We’re already getting people from all over, from Waukegan, Algonquin, from Michigan …,” said Jeff Zielinski, a skateboarder from Calumet City who helped plan the new Hammond skate park.

Zielinski and fellow local skateboarders played a role with early ideas in conversations with the design and construction firm the city of Hammond hired to construct the park.

Mark Heintz, administrator for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said about $425,000 of Hessville Park’s $3-million improvements budget went to the design and construction of the 2,500-square-foot skate park.

It's a clear investment in sense and quality of place, benefiting local youth and attracting visitors from outside the Region.

Further south in Lake County, Crown Point's Bulldog Park, an outdoor venue with an expansive roof, continues to shine as a shrine for festivals and special events.

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Investments in immaculate youth sports complexes in Hammond, Crown Point and elsewhere in the Region are boosting our areas youth sports tourism and quality of life year after year.

A palpable vibrant air hangs thick in downtown Valparaiso, with its aesthetic and user-friendly design.

Improvements in Whiting have meant better dining opportunities and a destination spot in the recently opened sports Mascot Hall of Fame.

Splash pads in downtown Valparaiso and Crown Point's Bulldog Park continue to give youth recreational alternatives throughout the summer months.

We so often hear about what people believe our Region lacks: quality of place amenities that don't attract or retain people.

But we actually have many, which can and should serve as a foundation for more.

It's time to stop being low on our home communities.

Let's look at what we're doing so well and expand the energy that put those assets here to begin with.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.