CROWN POINT — Questions about the missing legacy bricks were put to rest Monday after city officials announced plans to give them new life.
The Lake Court House Foundation is partnering with the city of Crown Point to create a patio space on the east side of the old Lake County Courthouse that will feature the commemorative bricks that were removed during recent construction projects.
“We have gotten calls, as has the city, from people who are upset that their bricks are gone,” foundation managing director Carrie Napoleon said during Monday’s Redevelopment Commission meeting. “We have just taken names and numbers and told them, ‘Please be patient. We will work something out for you.’”
The patio space will accommodate seating for roughly 50 to 75 guests and will be used to host wedding ceremonies and other small events, Napoleon said.
The patio project also includes landscaping and installation of a new ADA-accessible sidewalk that will connect to the courthouse’s sidewalk and entrance on Main Street.
“We wanted to make sure that what is installed captures the essence of the courthouse and maintains its feel,” Napoleon said. “We don’t want to create something that would stick out like a sore thumb. We want it to complement the courthouse.”
After reviewing three bids for the project, the Redevelopment Commission voted to award it to Hubinger Landscaping Corp., of Crown Point, whose bid came in at $41,761.
Mayor David Uran said existing legacy bricks, which have been kept safe by the Public Works Department, will be used throughout the entire project with the patio and sidewalk extension.
“Those bricks have been through a lot. We would like to take those and give them a new lease on life and have those names that have been dedicated to family members that want to have it, put on display,” Uran said. People may request their bricks be returned if they don't want them placed on the courthouse lawn, he added.
The commemorative bricks originally were part of a fundraiser by the former Crown Point Chamber of Commerce and city, Napoleon said. When the chamber moved to Merrillville, the bricks were passed on the the Lake Court House Foundation.
Napoleon said a date has not been set yet for construction to begin on the patio project.
“We really hope the community embraces what we have put out there with the project and appreciate the fact that their bricks are still going to be involved,” Napoleon said. “Their bricks will be a part of downtown forever.”
In other business, the city won’t be seeing a new life-size sculpture by American artist Seward Johnson on display this year.
Commission member Carol Drasga, who spearheads the project as a member of the Art in Point Project Committee, said the popular public art project was put on hold this year to allow the city to focus on the opening of Bulldog Park.
Last year, the 25-foot “Embracing Peace” statue, which re-creates the famous embrace between a sailor and a nurse celebrating the end of World War II in 1945, was placed at the Crown Point Sportsplex.
In partnership with the Seward Johnson Atelier Inc., a group of life-size statues called "The Hunting Party" depicting the Claude Monet painting "Women in the Garden,” also were placed in the downtown square surrounding the courthouse.
“The Seward Johnson Sculptures have always been very successful and popular,” Drasga said, adding that it took four years to secure the sailor statue. “Bulldog Park was the crown jewel of the city this year, so we spent time focusing on that.”
Though Drasga did not give specifics, she did say the committee already is thinking ahead and has big plans coming for the city next year.