This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Some other news from Rensselaer

The closing of SJC is dominating the local news, as it should. It is a huge story. My Saturday post has had over 4000 page views and now ranks as the fourth most popular post on this blog since it began over eight years ago.

However, there are other things happening around town. The Park Board met on Monday night and despite a short agenda, had a rather long meeting. It agreed to cap utility charges for the soccer club at $2000. If the use of utilities is less, the club will pay less. It agreed to plant a couple trees in Hal Gray Park, one of which replaces a memorial tree that died. The Board discussed how to remove the old playground equipment just north of Staddon Field.

The discussion mentioned that the Board would like to start re-roofing picnic shelters and someone mentioned that the Zorich Shelter in Brookside Park was named after George Zorich, an insurance salesman who had played football for the Chicago Bears. I was intrigued so on Wednesday I went to the Library to find his obituary. (I got to use their brand new microfilm reader--it was installed this week.) Zorich was born in Wakefield Michigan and played college football for Northwestern University where he was a second team all-Big-Ten selection in 1941. He served in the military from 1942 to 1944 and then played for the Chicago Bears for two years. He married a local Rensselaer girl, Jacqueline Dean, in 1947. He sold insurance with the Dean-Zorich insurance agency during his life in Rensselaer. He served on the Park Board and promoted and developed summer athletic programs, which is the reason his name is on a picnic shelter. He died at the early age of 48 in 1967. He is buried in Weston Cemetery. (I also found his obituary on-line here.)

(He had a son named Chis but he is not the Chris Zorich who was a more recent Chicago Bears player.)

The Park Board meetings are two meetings in one, as explained three years ago in an early post on these meetings. There followed a long discussion of whether the Park Corporation meetings should be closed to the public and only Park Board meetings should be open. I think most of the members thought that closed meetings would be a bad idea. (I am usually the only member of the public who attends--though on Monday there was one other person who decided to check out their meeting.)

Someone mentioned that Rensselaer Main Street would like to have a walking path in Milroy Park. It would connect to the bowstring bridge. A short discussion of other things mentioned that the house at the Clark Street (SR 114) entrance to Brookside Park would soon be torn down. It is now owned by the City. A mention of the old State Highway property had someone suggest that it would make a good dog park if it comes into City ownership. The State was willing to give the lot to the City if the City did the demolition, but now that the State has done the demolition, the State would like the City to pay.

I stopped by the lot a few days ago. The lot was clear except for a couple piles of metal. I noticed that near the middle of the lot were the remnants of support beams for a rather large structure that probably was a garage or shed. I do not recall any building at that location.
I also saw a monitoring well, which suggests at some point someone was concerned about the possibility of chemical contamination of the soil.

On the topic of demolition, I saw City workers painting pavement by the old laundromat building north of Pizza Hut. I asked them what was happening and they told me that the building would be demolished soon. I reminded them that people had said the same thing in October, but they assured me that soon Rensselaer would have a fourth auto parts store.

Another building needing demolition is the Park View Apartments. Nothing has been done with it. A few blocks west at the intersection of Vine and Weston a house burned last week. It had new siding and was undergoing renovation. The Rensselaer Republican had a story about it the day after the fire.
We will have a few days of snow and cold before milder temperatures return.

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