LAPORTE — Officials here hope that a new athletic facility could serve as a launch pad for other businesses to go up at the redeveloped New Porte Landing just north of downtown.
Dunes Event Center is relocating from Rolling Prairie to a new 50,000-square-foot facility on the southern edge of the former Allis Chalmers site in LaPorte.
So far, only Dunkin' Donuts is operating on the former industrial property, but a Starbucks is presently going up and plans are for construction of a Kroger Marketplace to begin as early as next year.
The event center is expected to spur even greater economic growth at the development.
Rick Ashmore, owner of the Dunes Event Center, which he founded 29 years ago, said tens of thousands of young people and adults come annually to the facility from as far away as Lake County and Rochester for volleyball practice and tournaments. High school volleyball teams also come for camps during the off season.
Basketball and indoor batting cages are also offered.
'On an average weekend, we bring in 120 to 130 teams from the Midwest,” Ashmore said. “Just three weeks ago we brought in three teams from China.”