Central Park Plaza
In 2010, the Redevelopment Commission purchased a underused parking lot in downtown Valparaiso with plans to redevelop the area into a public park. Phase I of this construction included the creation of Porter Health Amphitheater, a splash pad, and park area. Following Phase I completion in 2011, the William E. Urschel Pavilion and Bill Costas Family Plaza were constructed, completing Central Park Plaza. This $8 Million project was funded primarily through Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and donations to the Valparaiso Parks Foundation. Since its development, Central Park Plaza has become a central attraction for residents and visitors alike, with concerts, farmers markets, and ice skating all taking place in this community gathering space. You can view a presentation about the Central Park Plaza here.
In 2007, the Redevelopment Commission began a series of facade improvements for businesses in Valparaiso which ended in 2016.The Valparaiso Façade Improvement Program was intended to beautify Valparaiso by offering incentives to businesses to refurbish their exteriors, both in the front as well as rear pedestrian entrances. The grants, which capped at $25,000, were provided to businesses to help reimburse them for facade improvements. Businesses had to meet certain requirements to be eligible for these grants. A few businesses that received RDC grants include Ironwood Brewery, The Porter County Museum Foundation and the Best Western hotel. While this project is no longer funded by the RDC, the City offers a similar program, details of which can be found here. The Commission replaced Facade Improvement Grants with Sign Grants. Learn more about Sign Grants under our Current Projects Tab.
In 2004, development began along Lincolnway between Roosevelt Road and Sturdy Road. Dubbed "Eastgate" the purpose of this project was to beautify the eastern gateway to Valparaiso's downtown while redeveloping a main entrance to Valparaiso University. To complete this project, the Redevelopment Commission funded business relocation, streetscape renovation, and provided incentives for developers to build appropriate mixed-use facilities on the south side of Lincolnway. Because of these efforts, Eastgate is now home to University Promenade and Uptown East, which are mixed use buildings with first floor retail, and upper-level apartments. Since redevelopment, the area has become a popular spot for Valparaiso University students and Valparaiso residents.
In 2004, the City of Valparaiso began plans to build a roundabout near Valparaiso University on Sturdy and Lincolnway. Completed in 2008, it was the first of six publicly financed roundabouts in the city, and the first roundabout on an INDOT state route. 80% of the project was funded by federal grants with the Redevelopment Commission providing the remaining 20% of funding. The Redevelopment Commission has contributed 20% of funding for every public roundabout project in Valparaiso, which has enabled Valparaiso to have the most roundabouts in Northwest Indiana. A seventh roundabout will be constructed along Silhavy and LaPorte Avenue within the next four years.
Roundabouts help reduce the number and the severity of accidents while giving pedestrians a safe place to cross. The roundabouts in Valparaiso have also cut down on carbon emissions from cars, as motorists do not have to idle for the length of time required by a traditional stoplight. You can view a presentation about Valparaiso's roundabouts here, or a video on how to safely drive a two lane roundabout here.
Around 2005, the Redevelopment Commission began to redevelop part of North Calumet Ave. near a shopping mall known as "County Seat". The mall, which had moved into the location in the 1970s, had been steadily declining, was experiencing frequent vacancies, and was beginning to fall into disrepair.
As a result, the Redevelopment Commission purchased the property, relocated surrounding businesses, and demolished buildings. The Commission then began to beautify the area by providing more modern landscaping, creating Cumberland Crossing, Cumberland Road, and the Cumberland Roundabout. This project was primarily funded by tax increment financing (TIF). Following these improvements, Urschel Development Corporation purchased part of the land to further develop the new Cumberland Crossing shopping center.
Since this redevelopment project was completed, Cumberland Crossing has become home to the Valparaiso YMCA and the Cumberland loop has become the central location for the Valparaiso Art Walk.
In 2005, the Redevelopment Commission began to address the "missing link" between Valparaiso Street and Campbell Road. At the time, Vale Park Road did not extend between the two roads and significantly lengthened travel times. Cutting through unused marshland, the new road also added to Valparaiso's bike trail system by creating a one and a half mile trail from Calumet Rd to Campbell Rd. Another addition to this bike trail, the Vale Park West Pathway, further extended the trail to two miles. The Vale Park West Pathway extension won the 2016 Outstanding Trail Project Award from The Greenways Foundation of Indiana. There are plans to further extend this path in upcoming years. This project was largely funded by Tax Increment Financing (TIF).