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Last night the Culver Chamber of Commerce sponsored a Community Conversation bringing together representatives of the Chamber, Second Century Committee, LMEC/F, Town Council, Plan Commission, Redevelopment Commission, the Town Clerk and Town Manager as well as others. Linda Yoder of the Marshall County Community Foundation was also in attendance. Dawn Brockey with the Culver Coffee Company and current Chamber President was kind enough to host the event providing wine and light appetizers for the group.
The goal was to discuss strategies to strengthen the business community in Culver. Ralph Winters brought up the proposed new Comprehensive Plan. I was asked to discuss how it would affect the community (20/20 Vision for Culver!) and there was a spirited dialog. There was discussion as to how the various groups could participate and what funding sources were available. One thing that Ralph emphasized was that everyone needs to read the current plan before we start on the revisions. I thought that was an excellent recommendation.
There was quite a bit of discussion on how to extend the business season beyond the summer. There was discussion of how the Triathlon, Winefest and Ice Fishing Tournament can help the retail merchants. (One sad note was hearing that the L’Max Film Fest will be moved to the Culver Academies and away from the downtown theater.) There was a request for brainstorming for other events like those. I’ve been negative on the Marshall County Tourism in the past, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear how they were helping with many of these events.
There was discussion regarding a need for a community calendar. I found that discussion interesting since there have been many attempts at this which have not gotten support. One of those, IHeartCulver, is still up, but struggling and close to being taken down due to lack of support. It would seem that an existing model such as that could be built on and support a local entrepreneur in lieu of reinventing the wheel.
All in all there was good discussion. It will be interesting to see how the Chamber moves forward with the input they received.
Jay Bletzinger has a vision for a new business park in Culver. He has commissioned Scearce Rudisel Architects to create some preliminary drawings and site plans. He has looked at a couple of locations and one of them is my Sand Hill Farm property. The other is the 19+ acre property owned by JD One JD Two, Inc. (locally known as the Jefferson Street Dicke Property) bordered by Jefferson St., Mill St., and S.R. 17. I’ve discussed the possibility of a Sand Hill Farm PUD here before, but due to the sluggish economy I’ve pretty much put the idea on hold. Possibly this is a reason to resurrect the idea. Jay has put together some interesting ideas and has plans to be the first tenant!
Preliminary Concept Drawings were previously commissioned for both of these properties by the Culver Redevelopment Commission (CRC). Those drawings were prepared by Lehman & Lehman and presented to the CRC in 2007. (I have a hard copy, but if electronic copies exist, I do not have access to them.) This led to the CRC extending water and sewer to the end of Jefferson Street in hopes of spurring development on the Dicke property. Along with the utility extensions there were plans for relocating power lines, widening Jefferson Street, adding sidewalks and landscaping the area with new trees and sod. Unfortunately negotiations with NIPSCO fell apart and the completion of this project was put on hold.
Jay believes that there is a need for incubator office and manufacturing space in Culver and that these can be combined in a viable business park. The building plan shows back to back suites with offices at the front, manufacturing/warehousing at the back. The rear of each suite would back up against a common loading dock area. The “front” of the building would consist of small commercial office spaces. In both cases, the offices and the manufacturing/warehousing spaces are divided by walls that are non-load bearing so that they can be removed to provide flexibility in rental space. Jay’s initial build-out ideas and cost/lease projections are here and continued here.
For those of you that couldn’t make it to the meeting, I presented the Firemen’s Memorial to the Town Council this evening. The project is proposed for the northeast corner of the intersection of Slate Street and Lake Shore Drive. The lot is owned by the Town and is currently used as a parking lot for the firemen. The lot is zoned C-1. The basic conundrum was that Culver’s Zoning Ordinance doesn’t have a designation for Monuments or Memorials no matter what the zoning district.
I had discussed this with Russ Mason, Culver’s Building Commissioner, and we agreed that the best solution was to request the Town Council to accept the structure as a Municipal Sign. (The Town Council is exempt from ordinance requirements for their signs.) I presented it as such to the Council this evening. Russ was there to back me up. After a brief discussion, the Council agreed that this was an appropriate designation for a worthy project.
This knocks down another obstacle, so the project is moving forward. Now we’re just held up by the minor problem of fundraising…
This has been a Public Service Announcement… If I were a little more ambitious this evening, I would find a mpg of NBC’s “The More You Know” tag music to play in the background…
The Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council (LMEC) is sponsoring a Canoe/Kayak Poker Run at Lakefest this year. They currently have 25 registrants and are looking for another 27. I think Kathy wants to try playing with a full deck…
If you’re interested, contact Kathy Clark at the LMEC office at (574) 842-3686 or stop by at 116 North Main Street, Culver. You can also find a registration form online here. The registration deadline has been extended to July 11th at 3:00 pm. Participants will get a tee shirt commemorating the event.
It should be a fun event! Canoes and Kayaks will hit the water Friday, July 20th, at 5:oopm. Good luck to everyone that decides to give it a try!
Just as an update to our previous post here, Jeff Kenney wrote a piece regarding Kris Bex’s presentation to the Culver Kiwanis Club in the June 14th edition of the Culver Citizen. (You can click on the article to the below to enlarge it.) Thanks for the plug Jeff!
I would imagine Jeff found a kindred soul in Kris Bex, knowing Jeff’s interests in writing and history. The Remnant Trust’s focused mission to preserve documents promoting Liberty and Dignity makes it a unique asset to Northern Indiana.
I will be attending a Remnant Trust event this evening. There will be a tour of the facility, some period character actors and a social gathering for local supporters. I’m looking forward to the event (even though I’m forced to wear a tie!). It is always interesting to go back to completed projects and see how they evolve from the original plans. The Remnant Trust is a particularly interesting example since the facility serves as somewhat of a museum and is constantly changing their displays and presentations.