Schererville opens community center to parties
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent June 12, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: July 15, 2013 6:49PM
SCHERERVILLE — The town’s new community center will be open for room rentals and parties, though two councilmen agree that’s not its intended purpose.
The Town Council voted down party lines, 3-2, to approve a fee schedule for the community center on the Scherwood Greens. The center will offer day rates Monday through Friday, a Saturday and Sunday day rate and a Friday and Saturday night rate, which will be more expensive, said Parks Department Superintendent John Novacich. The rates are based on blocks of time, and the nonresident rate is 1½ times the resident rate.
Additionally, those who rent space will be required to pay a $50 per hour security fee for each hour reserved, he said. And renters will be required to sign an agreement that they are responsible for damages.
Novacich said he plans on soliciting Schererville caterers to provide menus and price lists for renters to use for their outside catering needs, of which the town will take a percentage of the sale. Councilman Jerry Tippy, R-1, said the idea doesn’t fit with what the community center is supposed to be.
“First, this was supposed to be a building that was going to house all the parks programs because they were scattered all over town, but now it looks like it’s going to be a banquet hall,” he said. “To be competing against other Schererville businesses isn’t right.”
Councilman Mike Troxell, D-5, disagreed and said the center is public property, and as long as there were no other park programs scheduled, he didn’t see a problem with renting out the space.
Also at the council meeting and in the prior Utility Board meeting, both boards approved an agreement that will allow Petro Gas to funnel ground water trapped in that company’s underground bedrock caverns through the town’s wastewater plant. Wastewater Superintendent Jim Gorman said there are between 16 million and 19 million gallons of water that need to be removed and brought down to a pH level of 7.9 so the company can start storing butane in the caverns once again.
Gorman said the initial flow would be 500 gallons a minute and would max out at 1,000 gallons per minute and that the cost of the project would be a direct reimbursement to the town. Rate payers won’t be absorbing any of the expense.
Ennbridge of Griffith is in the preliminary stages of a similar project with 30 million gallons for water, Public Works Director Jeff Huet added.
In other business, the prior Redevelopment Commission meeting saw the board vote 3-2 in favor of adding the community center to the Kennedy Avenue tax-increment financing district plan.
Tippy said he didn’t believe the amendment of it was consistent with the original economic development plan; Town Attorney Dave Austgen said it is a valid and legal use of the funds.