posttrib
OMINOUS 
Weather Updates

Schererville council approves community center payment

SCHERERVILLE — A vote down party lines will allow the town’s community center to be paid for in cash.

The Town Council voted 3-2 at its Wednesday night meeting to pay up to $2.5 million for the new community center inside Scherwood Park through the Kennedy Avenue tax increment financing district. The Town Council later voted again, 3-2, to approve the payment.

The 12,000-square-foot building, said to have been built under budget and in part through a $500,000 federal grant secured by U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, is expected to host its grand opening in a few weeks, said Councilman Tom Schmitt, D-4th ward. Schmitt said paying for the $1.8 million in construction from the TIF district means taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill through a bond issue and thanked the businesses that fund the TIF.

“Our TIF district is one of the most gain-type of districts in the state, and it’s done a lot for the town,” he said.

Councilmen Jerry Tippy, R-1, and Kevin Connelly, R-2, who voted no, wondered why the resolution called for up to $2.5 million when the construction cost came in at $1.8 million and a $500,000 grant was used. Tippy questioned whether paying for the TIF would hinder other projects slated for payment out of it.

“Every year, we approve a capital improvement plan, so it’s not like the money’s there just to spend,” Tippy said, naming several road projects to be paid for out of the TIF. “Nowhere did we list the community center, so now, we have to look at taking out this cash against what we have.”

Connelly asked Parks and Recreation Superintendent John Novacich whether the amount of programming scheduled for the center will sustain its operation. Novacich said programming listed in the brochure recently sent out to residents was only one brochure and will increase.

Clerk-Treasurer Janice Malinowski assured the council that neither would any projects be slighted by paying for the center through the TIF, nor will the TIF deplete itself by 2018, when the Shops on Main contribution to the TIF is expected to decrease.

“Since 2000, the increment has increased, and I forecast it will continue to increase,” she said.

In other business, the council voted 5-0 to amend the town’s ambulance transport ordinance to allow Schereville’s EMS personnel to transport patients to a Level 1, 2 or 3 trauma center within 45 minutes of a hospital. Schererville Fire Chief Joe Kruzan said the closest trauma center to Northwest Indiana is Advocate Christ in Oak Lawn, Ill., but since Methodist Hospitals and St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point are working on getting Level 3 trauma designations, the town will be covered.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.