Officials hope for out-of-court resolution in C.P. library suit

2012-09-12T20:30:00Z 2012-09-12T21:25:04Z Officials hope for out-of-court resolution in C.P. library suitSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com
September 12, 2012 8:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Talks between the mayor and a plaintiff in lawsuits naming the city and the library could lead to a solution outside of court, city officials said Wednesday.

Mayor David Uran said he and David Austgen talked about issues surrounding traffic and on-street parking on Robinson Court, near the site of a proposed off-site parking lot for the new Crown Point Community Library.

"I had a chance to sit down with David Austgen to talk about a solution to help the city," Uran said.

Austgen's Main Street Professional Center sued the city Plan Commission and Board of Public Works and Safety — along with the library — in July regarding permitting of the parking lot at the intersection of East Street and Robinson Court.

Austgen, a lawyer with the firm Austgen Kuiper & Associates, confirmed he and Uran spoke but wouldn't discuss specifics.

"I would say this: The mayor reached out to us and has taken efforts to communicate with us, unlike the library," Austgen said. "We are hopeful the mayor's intervention will make this right."

The lawsuit remains pending in Lake Circuit Court.

Crown Point City Attorney David Nicholls advised lawyers involved in the case to "take a step back so we don't have the necessity of going forward with full-blown litigation."

Uran was granted authority by the Board of Public Works and Safety on Wednesday to continue talks with Austgen.

The proposed off-site parking lot has proven contentious in an otherwise uncontroversial move by library officials to build a $12 million new library. The facility is set to open in late October in the 100 block of North Main Street.

Austgen had objected throughout the permitting process, citing concerns for traffic safety at the intersection of Robinson Court and Main Street, where Main Street Professional Center is located.

The pending demolition of vacant buildings at the location is being overseen by the Indiana Department of Environment Management because of the potential for asbestos-containing materials in the buildings.

The new library is scheduled to open Oct. 22, Library Director Lynn Frank said Wednesday. A main parking lot is being constructed as planned at the south entrance of the new library.

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