CROWN POINT | Library officials have been told to secure the site of a proposed off-site parking lot where two vacant buildings had been scheduled for demolition.
"We informed representatives of the project they cannot demolish them until they notify us," said Amy Hartsock, spokeswoman for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
IDEM officials learned that an independent inspection of the buildings done in February indicated the need for special handling of potential asbestos-containing materials before demolition can occur, Hartsock said.
"The main issue is pipe wrap that if disturbed could cause asbestos fibers to be released into the environment, and to avoid that, abatement is necessary," Hartsock said.
An IDEM asbestos inspector visited the site, at the corner of East Street and Robinson Court, after a complaint was filed last week with the agency, Hartsock said.
The inspector's report of the visits was not complete Friday, Hartsock said.
Adam Sworden, an attorney with the Crown Point firm Austgen Kuiper and Associates, said the firm filed the complaint with IDEM.
Main Street Professional Center, which is occupied by Austgen Kuiper and Associates, in July filed a lawsuit against the city and its Plan Commission, as well as the Crown Point Community Library, over their handling of the process for permitting the parking lot.
The proposed off-site lot is intended for patrons and employees of a new city library being built across the street, in the 100 block of North Main Street. A larger parking lot south of the new library's main entrance is being constructed as planned.
Library Director Lynn Frank said earlier Friday library officials had an environmental survey of the off-site parking lot site done earlier and had been prepared to handle any possible concerns.
"There was a plan for handling anything that was there," Frank said.
Hartsock said the site qualifies as one for which IDEM needed to be notified of demolition plans, and that had not been done.
"Our objective is safe demolition," Hartsock said. "We want to work with the project representatives to make sure they understand the process and follow it."
The $12 million new library is expected to open in late October, Frank said.
Library officials still intend to have the off-site parking lot at East Street and Robinson Court, Frank said.