Library plans clearing final hurdles

2011-04-25T23:45:00Z 2011-04-25T23:45:16Z Library plans clearing final hurdlesBy Susan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | Final hurdles to a planned new library appear on the way to elimination, making a June 1 groundbreaking likely.

"It's looking much firmer," library director Lynn Frank said of the date.

A needed zoning variance permitting a library building at 122 N. Main Street will be recommended to the City Council for final approval after consideration Monday by the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Zoning changes to permit the library to be 52 feet high at its tallest point and to extend to the sidewalk line were approved by the zoning board.

Plans call for the building to face south with its back to Robinson Court on the north, between Main Street on the west and East Street on the east.

City officials are expected to consider making Robinson Court a one-way, westbound street to accommodate the plans.

The library's single entrance will open onto a green space near the center of the block, with a parking lot to the east.

Zoning board member Vern Segert objected to the alignment of the building, and to the cost of the city buying a North Main Street property that will be razed to make way for the library plans.

"It seems like if the building faced Main Street it would fit with the rest of the downtown area," Segert said. Library officials said the alignment facing south, away from traffic, will be safer for children and older people.

The city paid $450,000 last month for a building at 120 N. Main St., which will be torn down to make way for the green space outside the library entrance. In the deal with the city, the building owner agreed to invest the proceeds into a new home for his karate school in the city-owned North Street athletic complex.

"We spent a lot for that property, and we're going to use it for sidewalk and grass," Segert said.

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