Valparaiso Chamber salutes improvements in city
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent July 9, 2014 6:32PM
HealthLinc Community Health Center on Sturdy Road in Valparaiso was one of the recipients of a Community Improvement Award, bestowed Tuesday by the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce and the city of Valparaiso.| Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 10, 2014 2:02AM
VALPARAISO — From a renovated car wash to a new health clinic, several businesses and not-for-profit groups were honored Wednesday during the 47th annual Greater Valparaiso Community Improvement Awards.
The awards, sponsored by the city of Valparaiso and the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, single out new construction and renovation projects that enhance the community.
“This is one of the programs we feel has been a great way to show community appreciation for existing businesses,” Rex Richards, president of the chamber, told a lunchtime crowd at the Harre Union on the Valparaiso University campus.
Over the past several years, the city has seen tremendous growth and revitalization, said Tina Bengs, chairwoman of the chamber’s board.
“Pride in growth — that’s the essence of the Community Improvement Awards,” she said.
Beth Wrobel, chief executive officer for HealthLinc Community Health Center, which received an award for its new facility on Sturdy Road, thanked the community for their support.
“We would not be here today if it wasn’t for all of you,” she said.
Opportunity Enterprises was another not-for-profit honored for its efforts, with OE Lakeside in Lake Eliza. In all, 2,000 people donated $3.5 million for a day services building and apartments to serve people with disabilities, said David Stupay, the agency’s chief executive officer.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this,” he said. “What makes this building what it is, is the participants.”
The Bow Bar, part of Strongbow Inn, received an award, too. Bengs noted the bar’s exterior renovation had a rustic feel and was inviting for both the community and travelers staying at nearby hotels.
On the city’s north end, Strack and Van Til Food Market and Soft Touch Car Wash, which are next to one another, also were honored. Representatives from both businesses noted construction of the roundabout at the Five Points intersection at the time, which further complicating things for customers who stuck with them during the work.
At Porter’s Vale shopping center on the city’s southeast side, Hobby Lobby and Gordmans department store received awards for new buildings.
The new Lewickyj, Taglia and Felton Eye Clinic on the city’s north side also was honored, as was University Promenade, a new retail and office complex, on East Lincolnway.