The condition of our parks, streets, and sidewalks are very important to maintaining a high quality of life for our residents. In order to maintain these parts of our infrastructure and control spending government must use vision and planning to keep these assets functioning. The following are some of the accomplishments of our team.
Through tripling the number of households since 2008 that recycle, it has helped us ensure that the funds that the city receives from the Lake County Solid Waste District helps us with a continued source of income to pay for improved parks. The Jerry Ross Park on North Street was created with the all new EVOS Playsystems for kids 6 years and older and the Weevos system for the younger children. The design was created to have a futuristic look. Rehabbed with new playsets, we have completely rebuilt 2 city parks (Collins and Russ Keller); each park includes recycled material in the play area that saved over 4,000 tires from going into a landfill. Lastly, we have created one new park (Metros). These funds have also been used to repair other pieces of equipment at several other parks.
In September, we dedicated the first phase of the city's new Sportsplex, a 95-acre facility featuring two Field-Turf Football/Soccer/Lacrosse fields with the most updated pervious cement and asphalt to prevent flooding. Rainwater drains through the surface to the lateral storm drains. This state of the art facility is not only a one of a kind facility in the country for youth sports, it is generating funds from other communities as we are renting the field space to other organizations. The Sportsplex was funded with revenues from the $1.5 million dollar sale of the city-owned Breyfogle Farm, extension of $1.5 million dollars in expiring bond funds and a $1.1 million dollar donation from the Dean and Barbara White Foundation. Improvements to the 109th Avenue were funded by a grant from Congressman Visclosky meaning no increase to residential taxpayers dollars were used to upgrade this facility.
By utilizing new technology the city has been able to take an inventory of the condition of the streets of our city and assign a priority list to those in need of repair. This allows the funds available for street repair to be used more efficiently. In 2008, when asphalt prices were at the lowest they had been and were projected to climb, my administration utilized a revenue bond based on funds that were paid to the city from the riverboat revenue. Those funds, by law, could only be used for street repair. This maximized our spending dollar by locking in the price at its lowest level.
The city has also purchased a new piece of equipment that makes repairs potholes more permanent than filling them with loose material. Thereby, making more expensive repairs unnecessary.
For both residents and businesses, good roads are a must, and recently completed and ongoing projects include: improved intersections at North Street and Indiana Avenue along with Summit and Indiana Avenue both with automated traffic signalization. The repaving of Greenwood & South Court Street, the new 1-65 interchange at 109th Avenue along with the Broadway expansion and improvement project. Coming in the near future is the improvements to the intersection at Summit and Merrillville Road along with North West Street improvements. All of these projects are a result of a combination of the American Reinvestment Recovery Act (ARRA), CMAQ Grant, INDOT, & Grants from Congressman Peter Visclosky.
In an effort to reduce the overall cost of replacing sidewalks to homeowners, the city participates in a 50/50 program. This program shares the cost of replacing dilapidated sidewalks with the homeowner. City workers completing the actual installation and the city receiving the material at the lowest possible price further reduce the cost.