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WATCH NOW: Crown Point parking headaches getting $60,000 in relief

WATCH NOW: Crown Point parking headaches getting $60,000 in relief

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series
Study to look at parking downtown in Crown Point

Cars are parked in and around the downtown square in Crown Point. The city is set to undergo a $59,900 parking study to address parking on all sides of the square. 

The city is investing $60,000 in the first step toward addressing long-standing parking issues in the downtown area that could see changes as soon as this summer.

CROWN POINT — The city is investing $60,000 in the first step toward addressing long-standing parking issues in the downtown area that could see changes as soon as this summer. 

The Crown Point Board of Works on Wednesday unanimously approved an agreement with American Structurepoint, an engineering consulting firm, for a parking study. 

Crown Point Mayor David Uran said the survey will include data collection; collision diagrams; sight distance evaluations; traffic simulation models; renderings of the proposed conditions; and a final design of new parking solutions.

"This is a process that's going to be greatly involved by the community, by staff and our council, as we look to best determine the uses and spaces of our downtown, currently, and any future growth that may be projected for the downtown to make it more accessible, either by vehicle or by pedestrian and things of that nature," Uran said. 

In total, the endeavor will cost $59,900, which includes the parking study, as well as contractual design, Clerk-Treasurer Dave Benson told The Times. 

Uran previously said looking at parking will help make all of the downtown business community successful and allow visitors and residents to have a nice, fun time visiting downtown instead of having to do "many different laps" in order to "find that coveted space that might be available."

The project comes as the Crown Point City Council established a parking committee earlier this month. 

The committee includes Councilwomen Dawn Stokes, D-2; Laura Sauerman, R-4; and Carol Drasga, R-5. Councilman Zack Bryan, D-at large, will be an alternate, Council President Scott Evorik, R-at large, said previously.

Immediate changes

Crown Point Chief of Staff Greg Falkowski told The Times following the Wednesday meeting the project will be broken up in three phases, with each phase set to address a different side of the square. 

Phase one will target the east side of downtown, which includes East Street from North Street down just south of U.S. 231, Falkowski said, noting the study will provide a "holistic view of the square." 

"We look at the square as the square and a one-block radius all the way around. That really encompasses the B-1, the downtown business district, where all of it is geared towards pedestrian walkability, and really that atmosphere that a downtown brings and what our downtown has," Falkowski said. 

The first phase aims to identify area parking lots, including the municipal lot between City Hall and the Crown Point Community Library, the north library lot, parking lots at the fire and police stations, as well as "on-street parking that could be available or could be made available along East Street."

"With the council forming their parking committee, and really hearing the residents and the business owners of what needs to happen, we took this action and moved forward to hopefully provide some relief to the area and get it to its highest and best use," Falkowski said. 

Falkowski added the city is set "to have some action and some dirt and asphalt lines moved around this year." 

Ride along with LaPorte Police Specialist Justin Dyer as he patrols the streets of LaPorte.

'The big picture'

The timeline for phases two and three isn't yet clear, as the city is waiting to receive findings from the parking study, which it expects to receive "in the coming months," Falkowski said. 

"It would really be unfair to just look at one portion of it, and not really identify what's going on on all four sides," he said. "We need to look at the big picture, but we know that we can get that first part done and get some some action moving this year on that east side." 

When asked if a parking garage could be considered as a solution, Falkowski said the city doesn't think "there's any need to reinvent the wheel," when it comes to parking solutions, and later added nothing is off the table. 

Once the parking study is done, Falkowski said the council's parking committee likely will have a public meeting to review the findings, informational pamphlets will be available and feedback will be gathered from "owners from around the square and those who patronize it."

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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