VALPARAISO | The days for the historic Victorian house at the corner of Jefferson and Lafayette Streets appear to be numbered.
The former Needle and Thread site in Valparaiso was badly damaged in a fire in July. The city's Board of Public Works and Safety voted Friday to seek bids for the building's demolition and clean-up of the site. The city expects to close on the purchase of the house in a week or so.
The City Council transferred $100,000 from Valparaiso's share of the county economic development income tax money two weeks ago to pay for the purchase and demolition. It also approved using $70,000 from the parking fee fund to covert the site into a parking lot, which City Administrator Bill Oeding said could be used to provide more free parking for the downtown area.
Oeding said the bids probably will be opened in a couple of weeks and the demolition could be done by the end of November. The site will have dirt added and the lot seeded until the city completes the design of the parking lot, which could be built in the spring.
The board also approved receiving $1.1 million from the Federal Transit Administration for the operation of the V-Line intracity bus system and the ChicaGo Dash express commuter buses to Chicago's Loop.
City Planning Director Tyler Kent said the funding came in two grants, one for $678,000 for the period from July 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2014. The second is for July 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013.
The funds are to pay Ride Right and Free Enterprise Systems Inc., the two companies that operate the V-Line and the Dash. The remaining cost of the services is paid by the city and by fares.
Finally, as expected, the board approved an extension to Nov. 13 for completion of the five-points roundabout at Calumet Avenue, Roosevelt Road and Vale Park Road.
An opening ceremony and tree lighting in the center of the roundabout are planned for Nov. 24.