Community center ‘perfect project’ for Schererville
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent July 18, 2012 9:54PM
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:53AM
SCHERERVILLE — Construction on the town’s new community center in the Scherwood Golf Course should start within a few weeks now that the financing has been finalized.
The Town Council during a special Wednesday meeting voted 3-1, with Councilman Hal Slager absent, to pass an ordinance establishing a special construction account fund. The fund will allow the town to borrow funds from savings and its tax-increment finance district so it can take advantage of a $492,000 federal grant it was awarded in 2007, Council President Tom Schmitt said.
The additional $2 million the town will need for the center will likely come from a park bond, which the town’s accountants, Indianapolis-based London Witte LLC, have instructed town officials will cost taxpayers about $10 per year, or less than a $1 per month, over the course of the loan, Schmitt said.
“When we surveyed residents while working on the town’s long-term plan, the No. 1 thing they said they wanted was a community center,” he said, acknowledging that residents living on and around the proposed site have expressed concerns over traffic increases. “The scaled-back building will not only house the Parks and Recreation Department, which is now housed in an 800-square-foot trailer in Rohrman Park, but it will offer programs for kids to senior citizens.
“I think it’s a positive project for the town.”
Town Manager Bob Volkmann added the Parks Department has been scrambling to find indoor activities for kids this summer because of the hot weather.
Councilman Jerry Tippy, R-1st Ward and the lone dissenter, has opposed the center because a report issued earlier this year indicated it would need five times the number of existing programs in it to make it sustainable and that staffing would also have to be increased. He said he remains unconvinced it’s a wise move.
“The accountants didn’t bless it, and I still haven’t seen anything concrete that does,” he said.
The construction contract was awarded to Berglund Construction of Chesterton, Schmitt said, and it will be finalized in the next couple days now that funding is secured. After that, Berglund will finish the engineering work, and ground could be broken within weeks.
Schmitt said the center could be up and running by the end of the year.