Chesterton Tribune

Chamber honors Splash Down Dunes, Popolano's, others

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The Duneland Chamber of Commerce’s 2004 Community Improvement Awards were announced Wednesday with two businesses recognized for their renovations and three for new construction.

Noted for their accomplishments were: Splash Down Dunes Water Park, Popolano’s Restaurant, Round the Clock Restaurant, Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute and City Savings Bank

Splash Down Dunes on U.S. 20 in Porter and Chesterton’s Popolano’s both garnered Renovation Awards. The water park, owned and operated by Paul and Debbie Childress, opened in 1994 and this year anticipates attracting 150,000 visitors. The facility, which began making significant investments in 2000, continues to add attractions and in 2005 a new water adventure, The American Revolution, is planned.

Cheryl Bonin accepted the award for her sister and brother-in-law and offered their appreciation for being recognized.

Jerry and Cyndy Paliga chose the 225 S. Calumet Rd. site of the former Katie’s Ice Cream Parlor to renovate as an expansion of Popolano’s, his parents’ family restaurant in Lansing, Ill.

According to chamber presenter Jim Fitzer of NIPSCO, the younger Paligas’ goal throughout the renovation project was to retain the character of the historic structure with pre-Civil War era stained glass windows and Italian-inspired murals in the dining rooms.

Said Cyndy Paliga, “We’re happy to be a part of the community and to give back. We live here. It’s our home.”

All three New Construction Awards --- Round the Clock, Lakeshore Bone & Joint and City Savings --- are located in Chesterton, the restaurant and medical center on the booming south side and the bank in newly developing commercial areas along Indian Boundary Road.

Award presenter Jean Phelps of Express Personnel Services Inc. said the $1.2 million Round the Clock chose its new location at South Calumet Road and County Road 1100N because of easy access to both Indiana 49 and downtown Chesterton and the area’s opportunity for growth. Phelps accepted the award on the restaurant’s behalf.

Mark Bader, administrator of Lakeshore Bone & Joint, accepted for the institute. He said the practice had a presence in Chesterton before but “we wanted to take a more active role.” The 36,000 square-foot facility, which opened three months ago, has grown to include 13 doctors, a staff of 80 and is adding a new surgeon and a rheumatologist.

Bader said by offering institute patients amenities like in-house MRI testing and electronic medical recordkeeping, “It’s nice to know you can get in and get it done, the whole process.”

Phelps said Lakeshore Bone & Joint, located in Coffee Creek Center, embraces the development’s philosophy of sustainability by using creative elements such as a highly reflective roof to avoid heat build-up and recycled materials throughout its interior.

City Savings Bank chose an innovative design for its approximately $2 million building. “I guarantee you it’s like no other bank you’ve ever seen,” said Scot Carpenter in accepting the New Construction award.

Phelps said the original City Savings was established in 1885 in Michigan City as a Savings & Loan but changed its name in 2002 to better reflect its intended direction and mission. Chesterton was a natural fit for the bank, she added, because the bank viewed the Duneland area as a friendly, decent community of hardworking folks who help and support each other.

According to Carpenter, “It’s nice when you come into a community as nice and warm as the Duneland community. Even our competition has opened its arms to us.”

Noting the investments made by the award winners, “You can see why we’re so excited about the economic boom,” said chamber executive director Laurie Franke-Polz.


Posted 7/29/2004