The Michigan City News-Dispatch
By: Ben Davis
January 24, 2018
MICHIGAN CITY — Washington Park’s Greenhouse building is nearing completion and should be done in February, according to officials.
The Greenhouse building was originally built during the Great Depression in 1933 as a Works Progress administration (WPA) project. WPA projects were undertaken all over the country as a part of then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt New Deal in an effort to help stimulate the economy. Other structures in the Washington Park Zoo including the observation tower, Monkey Island, and the Rotary Castle were built as WPA projects.
“It is about 98 percent complete,” said Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer. “I went and walked through it last week.”
According to Meer, the Greenhouse building will be utilized by several different emergency and rescue units.
“The park department, fire department, police department and lifeguards will all use it,” he said. “A lot of things you would need for rescue work.”
Meer added that Michigan City is looking at other WPA restoration projects after the success of the Greenhouse restoration including Monkey Island and Rotary Castle at Washington Park Zoo. He stated that the projects would be a joint effort between the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission and the city itself.
“We’re helping the zoo and the park,” he said.
The Greenhouse building was in dire straits before work began on the building that sits toward the entrance of Washington Park. In fact, according to Meer, demolishing the building was on the table.
“There was a lot of discussion what we wanted to do with it,” he said. “In the end, it was, ‘Let’s renovate and showcase this.’ Now, we have restored a historic building.”
Meer asserted as well that he himself wanted the building to be brought back to life.
“I wanted it to be restored,” he said. “It was a little expensive, but it looks really nice. I think we achieved what we wanted.”
At a Redevelopment Commission meeting earlier this month, Vice President of the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission Larry Silvestri stated that an open house could be happening very soon at the newly renovated Greenhouse building.
“After completion maybe in February, we should have an open house,” he said.
Meer could not help but express the positive impression he got from the work on the Greenhouse building.
“I’m very impressed,” he said. “It looks good.”
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