Valpo to raze Needle and Thread house for parking lot

2013-10-14T18:21:00Z 2013-10-14T21:21:25Z Valpo to raze Needle and Thread house for parking lotBy Phil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | The former Natural Ovens Bakery dome isn't the only building the city hopes to obtain and demolish in the near future.

At its Monday meeting, the city Council approved a resolution transferring a total of $190,000 from the city's share of the county economic development income tax. Of that, $100,000 went to the unsafe building fund to buy and demolish the former Needle and Thread building at the northeast corner of Lafayette Street and Jefferson Street.

The old Victorian house was severely damaged by fire in July and no one has been found willing to restore it, City Administrator Bill Oeding said. The city plans to get an appraisal on the site in order to make an offer. The transfer also included $20,000 to the economic development account to convert the site into a parking lot.

Oeding said the goal is to provide additional free parking to encourage employees of downtown businesses to use the outlying lots and reserve the prime parking slots for customers. It doesn't appear the lot will be built this year because the asphalt plants will be closing in mid-November, and the city needs time to design the lot.

Resident Walt Breitinger urged the city to design the new lot similar to one on the northwest corner of the intersection, where rain gardens, swales and pervious pavement were used to minimize stormwater runoff and beautify the site. Mayor Jon Costas said that is what the city plans.

The council also transferred $70,000 from the CEDIT fund to provide overtime pay for the Fire Department. Oeding said the firefighters are called on to help at a number of city events. Because several more events are planned before the end of the year, the additional funds are needed.

Another $176,000 was transferred in the solid waste department budget with $30,000 to be used to crush 6,200 tons of concrete the department has accumulated, mostly from sidewalk projects. The crushed concrete can be used for road projects and for construction of the new public works campus at the waste water treatment plant.

The remaining $146,000 will be used to buy a new leaf vacuum truck and a chipper/brush truck to replace the aging ones now used, Public Works Director Matt Evans said.

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