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Reading Jeff Kenney’s recent article in the Culver Citizen and The Pilot News about the new Lakehouse Grille in Culver brought to mind our involvement with the creation of its previous incarnation, The Edgewater Grille.
The Edgewater Grille was already operating successfully when the owner/chef approached us about his plans to expand. As Jeff likes to say, “for those of you that remember…” the Edgewater Grille was started in the old Bait Shop, a small white building with an orange roof sitting on the site of the former bowling alley. (At that time the adjacent Lakeview Tavern was under separate ownership.) The Edgewater Grille sign only partially covered the old sign on the roof that said “BAIT”. There were only a few tables because of the limited space, but the business was brisk.
The plan was to fill the entire site with a new restaurant, but keep the original restaurant open as long as possible in the interim. The owner had a vision of what he wanted in his head. With the help of Brent Martin, (B. A. Martin Architect, P.C.) we got that vision on paper and plans approved with the State. Part of this planning was to find a way to stage the project to keep the restaurant open. We accomplished this by phasing the project with the first phase including the restrooms, kitchen, mechanical rooms and some limited seating at the back of the site. As is etched in limestone on on the parapet, construction began in the Fall of 1999.
The structure was to be wood framed. This allowed for costs to be shifted and allow the bulk of expenditures on the kitchen and finishes. Exposed wood trusses were used to support a BMC CMR-24 roof. We showed various roof systems to the owner and explained the value of this system for the life of the building. It also allowed a low slope (1/4:12) roof pitch which maximized the interior space without requiring a height variance. BMC (Butler Manufacturing Company) has one of the best standing seam roof systems available in their MR-24 Roof. It uses a Pittsburgh double-lock standing seam with a full 360 degree seamed in place connection. The CMR-24 roof combines the MR-24 roof with rigid insulation board and liner panel to keep the interior clean. Look up the next time you’re there and you’ll notice a step in the roof. The step coincides with the transition between Phase I and Phase II of the project.
The owner wanted a facade that reflected the community. A brick was chosen that mirrored the brick used in the Vandalia Depot across the street. Even some of the details in the brickwork were duplicated in order to enhance that effect. As the facade was installed, the owner liked it enough to expand its use inside, creating a raised platform along the east wall. (It was removed during a subsequent remodel and replaced by a series of booths.) Mr. Martin proposed the tower on the corner to serve not only as an anchor to the structure, but as a metaphorical lighthouse tower since it sits at a bend in Lake Shore Drive.
With the completion of Phase I, the restaurant closed briefly to allow the relocation of some of the kitchen equipment. It quickly reopened in the new location and the old bait shop was torn down allowing the construction of Phase II to begin.
Around the time Phase II was started, the old Lakeview Tavern was purchased, renamed the Lakeview Lodge, and combined with the Edgewater Grille. This allowed for additional seating while Phase II was underway. Phase II went through several changes as construction proceeded. One of the interesting things was the creation of the fountains found on the corners of the raised dais along the west wall. These were commissioned through Susie Black of Black’s Glass in Plymouth. We then added pumps and tubing to create a pool and waterfall effect. The glass was back lit creating a glittering cascade and occasionally a rainbow effect. Unfortunately the water was hard to control and the occasional splatter made them difficult to use when the adjacent seating was occupied.
Variances were required along the way to accommodate the silver sign on the corner, the awnings and the entrance stairs and ramp. We also modified the sidewalk to create an accessible curb cut ramp. The restaurant was so popular that the Owner petitioned the Town to make changes and add a crosswalk to handle the pedestrian traffic from the parking areas across the street.
All in all we were quite proud of our involvement with this project. We felt the building fit the restaurant and the restaurant helped usher in an era of fine dining in Culver which we were pleased to be a part of.
At last night’s meeting of the Culver Town Council, I again broached the subject of funding a new Comprehensive Plan. (See previous entries on this subject here.) Apparently the idea of pursuing a new income survey has been shelved, so it now becomes a budget item that will need to be funded internally. At the behest of Kathy Clark, I have approached the Culver Redevelopment Commission (CRC) about funding all or part of a new Comp Plan. I also discussed this with Jennifer Laurent at MCEDC and she concurred that this is a viable use of the TIF funds that the CRC controls. The CRC is interested in pursuing this, but they would like participation from the Town, thus my request last night.
I brought this issue up again before the Plan Commission last week and offered to make the request to the Council on their behalf. I think the Council understands the importance. I reminded them of the recent article in the Pilot News last week that discussed Plymouth’s effort to update their Comp Plan since their current outdated plan was limiting their ability to obtain grants.
The Comp Plan is such an intrinsic piece of the puzzle for everything from infrastructure maintenance and expansion, land development, zoning issues, grant pursuits and economic development that it is critical that we have an up to date plan. There once was a chart on the wall in the Council Chamber showing how everything flowed down from the Comprehensive Plan. That is still an important point of understanding that I think is often missed.
The Town Council made the decision to schedule a work session on this issue around the middle of next month once the new Town Manager is in place. His start date is scheduled for June 4th and I’m sure he’ll have a lot on his plate. I hope we can keep this issue near the top of the agenda. With the Town coming up on the budget season, I’m hoping that we can get some money set aside to provide a Comp Plan that will provide the necessary guidance for the community.
I attended a seminar put on by IEDC (Indiana Economic Development Corporation) in Indianapolis last week. I was fortunate that it was in the morning before an ABC State Board meeting in the afternoon, allowing me to combine the trip to Indy. It still made a ridiculously long day since I had to hit the road before 6:00 to be at the seminar at 9:00, driving between the two in lieu of eating lunch and then leaving the ABC meeting I didn’t get home until about 7:30.
I attended as Chairman of MCEDC (Marshall County Economic Development Corporation) along with MCEDC staff, Jennifer Laurent and Derek Spier. I was pleased that Grant Munroe, Ralph Winters and and Rick Tompos attended on behalf of the Culver Redevelopment Commission and that Mayor Mark Senter and City Attorney Sean Surrisi attended on behalf of the City of Plymouth. It was unfortunate that there weren’t others from Marshall County able to attend.
The program centered around creative ways communities and economic development corporations were encouraging growth through the use of TIF Districts, shell buildings and virtual computer presentations. Several different EDC’s presented on their use of these tools to attract development.
Both Culver and Plymouth have TIF Districts in Marshall County and both have used them successfully. Plymouth has been more creative than Culver, but nowhere near as creative as some of the presentations that were made last week! In a nutshell, money taken in by the TIF Districts must be spent on capital projects to benefit the TIF District, which allows quite a bit of leeway in interpretation. One interesting use involved the coordination of a single county wide TIF District coordinating two City Redevelopment Commissions in conjunction with a County Redevelopment Commission. Can you imagine if Marshall County communities could foster that kind of cooperation!?! I think it generated quite a few new ideas in the attendees.
The use of shell buildings was discussed. Plymouth had been considering contracting for a shell building on PIDCO property on the northwest side of the City. I’m sure hearing the success of other communities with these ventures helped spur the signing of a letter of intent with Garmong Construction this past Tuesday night. (WTCA story here.) This will result in a new, 45,000 sf (expandable to 135,000 sf) tilt-up concrete building being constructed west of Pioneer Seed on Commerce Drive. In our just-in-time delivery society, it’s common that we’re passed over by site selectors when we don’t have a building that fits their needs ready to go. The anecdotal evidence presented suggested that having the building there got prospects to the community. Even when the building didn’t fit their exact requirements, it often got them there to consider other available sites.
During MCEDC’s discussions with Ady-Voltedge, our marketing consultant, we often heard the benefits of virtual site build-outs. It was presented that by showing what a building looked like on the site, a prospect would find it easier to make the jump to visualizing THEIR building on the site. An example of this was shown where an existing, dilapidated, empty building was shown with a virtual facelift, new landscaping and cars in the parking lot. They were able to sell the client on this vision before ever taking them to see the existing building.
I hope the other attendees came back with the new enthusiasm I gained from these presentations. Indiana should be poised for a leap forward in economic prosperity. Indiana is a business tax friendly, Right-To-Work State at the crossroads of America. Marshall County needs to take every opportunity to be part of the leap in renewed growth Indiana is about to experience.
Just a reminder to GET OUT AND VOTE!!! I was to my polling place just before noon and if the number of signatures I saw in the book are any indication, the turnout is going to be light. It’s a sad commentary when the news polls show Congress and the President with approval ratings in the basement, but then when citizens have a chance for input in the elections they can’t be bothered. The majority of seats up for consideration in this primary election are for State and Local positions. Not as controversial, but still important. I told you why I was supporting Francis Ellert previously here. There are many other important candidates to support on the ballot as well.
As a closing note, please make your vote an informed vote. Even at this late hour it’s not too late to find out about the candidates and vote responsibly. If you’re not going to do that, then I retract my opening request. I should have said, Get out and Vote… RESPONSIBLY!
I had the opportunity to meet with Francis Ellert recently and present him with a check and endorsement from Associated Builders and Contractors of Indiana (ABC). Easterday Construction has been a member of ABC for nearly three decades and I have served on the organization’s State Board of Directors through four terms. Francis has attended several ABC events and the organization has found him to be a like-minded individual that will fit well in representing our Free Enterprise cause. I consider Francis a personal friend and I was pleased to be able to relay our support.
This is Francis’s second run at the Indiana House District 17 position. I supported him in his first run (see here) and will do so again this time. Currently he has a primary challenger, but no Democrats have filed to run for the position in the Fall. Turnout will still be important in the primary. Since the Republican candidate for President has been decided before the Indiana primary, it’s important to make your voice heard in this local issue.
Lest you think voting isn’t important in the primary, there seems to be a real divide in the campaigning. I see very few Harman signs in the Culver area where Francis is well represented. I see mostly Harman signs in the Bremen area where Tim is well known. Culver in particularly shouldn’t be complacent and assume that Francis has it sewn up! We need to get out the vote and support him.
I can’t say anything bad about Tim Harman. From what I know of him, he is a good person, has run a clean campaign and has the best interests of District 17 at heart. But he’s not the known candidate that Francis is. Francis ran a hard campaign against Nancy Dembowski in 2010 and I think he benefited from it. Not only did it help him better define his positions, but it helped him make contacts that will be crucial when he joins the General Assembly next year. Those contacts are what have garnered the support of the Indiana Chamber, the Indiana Manufacturers Association and the Indiana Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.
Please consider helping me support Francis in the primary. In less than a week we’ll be making this choice. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to voting for a candidate that I can truly support rather than choosing the lesser of evils. I don’t think Francis tells election fairy tales.