Crown Point's Bright Future
Following “Part One,” where Crown Point Mayor David Uran and Ideas in Motion Media Founder Chris Mahlmann cruised through the city’s Downtown Square, Main Street and Broadway, “Part Two” focuses on some exciting new projects in progress.
From new places to shop and eat to an 80 foot-by-200 foot ice rink, Crown Point is growing quickly, and it's up to the mayor and his team to make way for a bright future.
Developing a Future in Crown Point
A Pita Pit, a high-end car wash, cafes, new restaurants and retail shops are coming to populate the south end of Broadway where Strack and Van Til’s and several other business plazas are located.
“All the things out here support one another,” Mayor Uran said. “You go to Walgreens to get a prescription filled or some family things you need, you’re going to go to Strack and Van Til’s to get your food, and you’re going to support the local restaurants in commerce.”
As they cruised down Broadway, Mayor Uran pointed out “banking row,” tech companies that call Broadway home and the valuable addition of Coyne Veterinary, a reputable animal hospital that serves as the new flagship for the Coyne family.
“These are all positive applications because Crown Point is a very growing community, very fast” Mayor Uran said. “Chris, we’ve had 200 new home starts on average for the last six years in a row. That's 1,200 homes being built in the City of Crown Point, where people are putting their flags here and raising their families, and you have to provide resources and amenities to match that, as well. So we have to be smart on what we do here.”
Mahlmann asked how Crown Point’s home-starts compare to its surrounding cities and towns. Mayor Uran said Crown Point differs from its Northwest Indiana neighbors like Whiting, Hammond or East Chicago in that it has more physical room for development. As a long-standing hub, many of The Region’s cities are already established, with little space to build additional housing or commerce areas.
“You have to have a good comprehensive plan in place, so you’re matching the growth and keeping residential neighborhoods safe and sound, and allowing people to get away from the hustle and bustle that’s out there every day” Mayor Uran said. “But still have the ability to be close enough to resources that they can have goods or services that make it a walkable city, something that’s non-motorized.”
Bicycle trails and walking paths also add into the city’s appeal. It’s a delicate balance Mayor Uran works to meet along with his team.
Managing a Booming City
The Crown Point Sports Complex stimulates a lot of tourism into Crown Point, according to Mayor Uran, with droves of families and athletic teams traveling to the new complex for competitions and outings.
With three-quarters of a million people coming to the Crown Point Sports Complex every year, it acts as a “big box” entity that can attract other attractions and development. For the mayor and his staff, they’re constantly looking for new growth opportunities that will benefit Crown Point’s residents, trying to make partnerships that will facilitate new homes and businesses.
“We’re like a marriage-maker, a matchmaker of marriage,” Mayor Uran said. “I have to put this developer and this big box or small box or this opportunity to come together, because we don’t own the land. We can give some incentives. We can give you that bottle of wine so to say, and give you the rose, but it’s up to you guys to come together and make that marriage happen, and that’s kind of what we do each and every day.”
A Home for Everyone
Cruising on South Main Street, Mayor Uran and Mahlmann pass through Crown Point High School which was built in 2003. From country club neighborhoods to start-up homes, Mayor Uran said there’s a variety of home owners’ options to choose from in Crown Point.
“Crown Point has the market place for many different types of economic backgrounds people have, for what they can afford,” Mayor Uran said. “You can buy a house in Crown Point, brand new, for as little as $140,000, you’re not going to get much of a yard but you might get something that's a good starter-home for you… To as high as million-dollar houses in White Hawk or at Copper Creek.”
The average new home start in Crown Point, he said, is an estimated $268,000.
New Additions Coming to Crown Point
The long-standing Southlake Family YMCA on South Court Street is in the process of building out a $35 million expansion.
“It’s going to be an incredible addition to the city of Crown Point,” Mayor Uran said. “And an incredible addition to South Lake County. “They anticipate to having close to 17,000 to 20,000 members once this facility is built.”
Mayor Uran said it could not have been done without the Dean and Barbara White Foundation along with the rest of the White Family, such as Craig White.
“The White Family Foundation is immensely responsible for a lot of the good, positive things happening in Crown Point,” he said.
The New Civic Center: Introducing Bulldog Park
A huge recreational project is underway to create Bulldog Park on the land next to Colonel Wheeler Middle School near Crown Point’s Downtown.
There will be a concert area for performance series and a roofed outdoor activity center for car cruises, farmers’ markets and rental space. An 80 foot-by-200 foot ice rink will be a welcomed new home for Crown Point’s hockey league and skating enthusiasts.
The Civic Center will include a fire pit and a splash pad, and serve as a year-round downtown venue for activities and events. It will also provide a new home for the senior center, leaving behind the old Civic Center which was becoming out-of-date.
“And you’re going to do that all in a year,” Mahlmann commented. “Wow.”
“It’s close to an $8 million to $9 million project,” Mayor Uran said. “They city is in for half and the Foundation for Dean and Barbara White has already committed on the other half of this.”
Touring the New Athletic Fields
Off of North Street in Crown Point sits a shining addition that has proven valuable to the city’s residents: The Crown Point Sports Complex.
The 95 acre complex was built up from what was originally a brown field or dumping grounds, and housed the local water treatment plant.
The Cal Ripken Complex contains nine softball fields, out of which five are adult-sized that can double as youth fields.
“We could have 200 teams playing here,” Mayor Uran said. “We’ve changed the architectural look of all of the fields, all of our sports complexes have brick background, backstops, the black wrought-iron fencing or black chain link fencing. It’s kind of a unique signature that we have when you come to our sportsplex.”
On par with the unpredictable weather of Northwest Indiana, the fields are raised up so that rain doesn’t wash out games. In addition, the Sparta Dome on the complex makes for a year-round athletic facility for all sports.
The Legacy Fields Champions Field is complete with box seats, a concessions stand, an observation deck, in-ground dug outs, pro score boards, well-manicured play areas and press boxes to complete the minor league ballpark feel.
“It’s really cool to be a kid in Crown point,” Mayor Uran said. “I wish I could go back to being a kid playing in these fields. When I played growing up we didn’t have lights. We played in the middle of a corn field and if they had to grow corn that year we didn’t have a baseball field.”