La PORTE — Improvements to La Porte’s Dunes Event Center near Clear Lake are taking shape.
On March 7 the city of La Porte was awarded $220,000 for a Destination Development Grant through the Indiana Office of Tourism Development to support enhancements to the Dunes Event Center.
The Dunes Event Center is located in NewPorte Landing, the former site of the city’s one-time largest industrial employer, Allis-Chalmers. Initial construction began in early 2018 with the facility opening that summer.
“The Dunes Event Center brings families from all over the Midwest to a formerly neglected corner of our city, serving as a catalyst in the redevelopment of NewPorte Landing as a destination for recreation and healthy living,” said Beth Shrader, La Porte’s Director of Community Development & Planning. “As the city continues to invest in the remediation and redevelopment of the former industrial area, we are thrilled to have partners like the Dunes Event Center, the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, the Indiana Office of Tourism Development, and the La Porte County Convention & Visitors’ Bureau that share our vision for reclaiming Clear Lake as a hub for outdoor recreation for La Porte residents and visitors alike.”
In addition to regular visits by club teams for practices, the center will host more than 20 multi-day events in 2019, drawing 300 to 1,500 people from throughout the Midwest for each event.
The newly constructed Dunes Event Center, according to officials, is already drawing visitors into La Porte, but the impact of the proposed site improvements will help those visitors explore all that La Porte has to offer.
“The Convention and Visitors Bureau is excited to be part of the partnership,” said Jack Arnett, Executive Director of the CVB. “Dunes Volleyball has already demonstrated that they can move the needle when it comes to hotel room occupancy and this grant will allow them to expand upon that, continuing to drive up the economic impact of this project.”
The planned site improvements will also make it possible to expand beyond volleyball to host other large events like basketball, soccer and beach volleyball tournaments, auctions, running and cycling races.
The total project cost is estimated to be $830,089 and includes upgrading the event space with signage, landscape and parking and linking visitors to trails, parks, retail, restaurants and the Clear Lake waterfront.
The improvements, according to officials, will secure the Dunes Event Center as a premier destination statewide for large scale indoor sports tournaments, recreational sports camps and club sports.
The project will be complete before end of the summer 2020.