Valparaiso approves annexation for sports complex
The Valparaiso City Council this week approved an ordinance to annex 200 acres of land northeast of the city. Our partners at Lakeshore Public Radio report the move was made primarily to support the city’s planned sports and recreation campus.
The land is located near State Road 49 and Vale Park Road. Planning Director Beth Shrader said plans for the land also include a future business campus, and the annexation will also let the city “clean up” its boundaries.
“If there are any remonstrations, the process could linger throughout the summer. If nobody remonstrates, then it could be June or July, and it would all be finalized,” Shrader told the council on Monday.
In January, the council approved $27 million in bonds to finance the sports and recreation campus. Plans for the project call for seven turf fields, natural walking paths, an outdoor plaza and multiple playgrounds across four sections.
An additional $5.8 million was approved for the related Memorial Parkway extension, which is designed to improve accessibility to the park.
Shrader told the council while the development that arises through the annexation of the land will likely mean an increase in traffic, the extension of Memorial Parkway should help ease that burden.
During a public hearing in January, residents expressed concerns about the park’s impact on a neighboring subdivision, which is not being included in the annexation. But Shrader downplayed those concerns, according to Lakeshore Public Radio.
“It’s not going to happen right away, and when it does happen, it is anticipated to be a more passive, natural area with trails, space for wildlife, observation, nature, interpretive signage — things like that,” Shrader said at the hearing.
The city hopes to being construction on the sports campus this spring, with completion expected in summer 2024.