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Last night the Culver Redevelopment Commission met for their regular monthly meeting. Kathy Clark spoke to the group in support of some projects that had come before them. (Kathy was the chair of the Redevelopment Commission when it was first formed.)
She was there to help my cause of getting the Redevelopment Commission to fund the new Comprehensive Plan. She stated that the Comprehensive plan is an integral part of retaining and bringing new business to Culver by setting goals and planning on where development should occur. She cited examples of how the original Redevelopment Commission used the Comprehensive Plan to determine how to layout the TIF districts and where to spend the money that was provided by the TIF districts. She also gave her reasoning on where TIF money should be spent. The Commission was moved by her insights and has chosen to fund the Comprehensive Plan. They did put some caveats on the cost and they did ask for involvement in selecting the consultant, but overall it was a big step forward. Culver just may get 20/20 vision before 2020 arrives!
Bob Porter, Culver Utilities Superintendent, was there to request funding for a clock to be added to the Downtown Revitalization Project. The Commission agreed to fund this too, probably due to Kathy’s pep talk. Bob didn’t give a lot of details other than that it would be a four faced post clock which would be set in the Right-of-Way somewhere around the intersection of Main Street and Jefferson Street.
Tom Kearns and Mike Stallings were there from the Culver Tree Commission requesting funding for a tree project to improve School Street starting at the intersection with S.R. 10 and running south to Academy Road. (See sketch) Tom indicated that they had the support of all the property owners involved. He also stated that the tree selections were made with the power lines in mind as well as a goal of having color throughout the year. It was a good night to visit the Redevelopment Commission as they chose to fund this project as well!
Should it be Firemen’s or Fireman’s? In any case, Culver Union Township Fire Department (CUTFD) is considering erecting a Memorial where they can honor the firemen that dedicated their time and energy to the protection of lives and property in the Town of Culver and surrounding Union Township. They currently have a two memorial plaques on the building for past Fire Chiefs. It would be difficult to install more without changing the prominence, plus since a new building is being considered, a better location/system is needed.
CUTFD Secretary/Treasurer, Dave Cooper, asked me to come up with a suitable design for this project. He asked that I incorporate the bell that currently hangs in front of the Fire Station. They also have a hose cart that they want included. They want an appropriate memorial where markers could be added over time.
The sketch above (Thanks Mary Ellen!) shows the main memorial wall. It mimics some of the natural field stone work in the existing planter in front of the Fire Station. This is an element that was recommended as a continuing theme in the Culver Design Charrette. The field stone and limestone theme is also seen in the “Welcome to Culver” sign (see picture at left) at the intersection of Lake Shore Drive and Highways 10 & 17 as well as other places throughout town.
The wall is a curved wall on a 15′ radius which would have their antique hose cart as a focal point near the radius center. The original design called for a paver plaza in front of the memorial with the hose cart (picture to the right) in the center. Currently the firemen are considering using the plaza pavers as a fundraising mechanism similar to what was done at Heritage Park.
The bell that is currently mounted in the existing planter (See picture to the left) would be relocated to the center of the new memorial. It would be fixed in place as it is now, but it would be more accessible where it could be touched. It will be recessed into the masonry and supported by a steel lintel.
The sketch shows Tempest Torches on the columns at either end. (See the picture to the right.) These are gas fired torches that would draw attention to the memorial. They could be lit for events or special occasions, i.e. Lakefest, Firemen’s Festival, Lion’s Club Corn Roast, Lake Maxinkuckee Film Festival, etc., but remain decorative the rest of the time if they chose not to keep them lit. It seemed fitting to use fire as part of the memorial and it plays into an eternal flame theme. The firemen are considering these, but they could be removed to save expense.
I gave several other options for them to consider, such as a Philharmonic fire and water fountain. What could be better for firemen than a display that includes BOTH fire and water!?! I also suggested the possibility to add benches or possibly a triple pole flag display.
My suggestion for the individual memorial plaques would be to get bronze castings in the shape of the fire helmet badges (picture to the right) used by CUTFD. The plaques could be cast with names, dates, numbers or whatever other symbols of significance they chose. The sketch shows bands of limestone set into the wall where the memorial markers could be anchored. These could be set permanently with inaccessible epoxy anchors.
The firemen would like to place this memorial in the lawn area on the south side of the firemen’s parking lot. I am suggesting that it be placed towards the corner on the west side, angled with its center line 45 degrees to the sidewalk intersection. This would orient it somewhat towards the fire station while keeping the focus towards Lake Shore Drive. This would minimize the disruption to the site, existing trees and ancillary uses such as the Lake Maxinkuckee Film Festival’s donor dinner.
I have suggested that a donor website be created to generate interest in the project and to solicit donations. The generosity of the Culver community is often amazing and possibly a donor that has had their lives touched by these dedicated public servants may step forward with a donation that would cover one of the larger elements. That would make the memorial that much more significant. As always, comments or suggestions are welcome here. Changes are always easier while the project is at the paper stage, so this is the time for input.
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.