Residents of Valpo have witnessed the downtown area growing into a place for the community to gather in the past few years. Mayor John Costas's view of the downtown Central Park Plaza as a gathering place for the city will continue as the Urschel Laboratories and the Valpo Parks Department move into the final phase of the expansion of Central Park Plaza. Mayor Costas and others representing the city and the Parks gathered Tuesday afternoon to listen to an overview of the plans to build the William E. Urschel Pavilion in a meeting at the Forest Park Golf Course.
Costas spoke about the vision for Central Park Plaza as a place where the community could gather with family and friends to, “Relax in an oasis of the concrete and asphalt of downtown.”
He said that the construction of Central Park Plaza was a way to get, “The heartbeat of the community beating strong again.”
Bob Urschel, Chairman of the Board of Urschel Laboratories, and Rick Urschel, CEO, are pledging $3 million gift towards the expansion and completion of Central Park Plaza. Specifically, the main design feature and anchor for the next phase of the park is a magnificent venue that will be the centerpiece for ice skating in the winter and farmers markets or other special events in the summer.
“…The Valpo Parks Department and Urschel Laboratories have been discussing the final phase expansion of Central Park Plaza for quite a while. With the ever growing popularity of Central Park Plaza, all parties felt that the timing and structure of the gift was right,” said Rick Urschel.
In the overview of the plan, Design Organization, Inc. emphasized that the architecture of the Pavilion would, “Engage everything around it and be a year-round venue.”
Park Board President Christa Emerson spoke on behalf of the park board, staff, and citizens who use Valparaiso parks by stating, “There is no statement to convey the gratitude we have for such an unprecedented gift that will allow us to expand on this already popular park.”
John Seibert, Parks Director, concluded the evening by describing the flexibility of the funds provided by Urschel Laboratories, which may be used both for the construction costs as well as ongoing maintenance of the facility for 10 years.
“We are honored to serve this extraordinary community and couldn’t be more thankful to the Urschel family for their contribution to this project,” Seibert said.
Construction of The William E. Urschel Pavilion is set to begin October 1, 2014, and open Summer 2015.