C.P. planners approve new library’s site plan
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent April 11, 2011 10:04PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
CROWN POINT — Planners gave their approval Monday to the site plan for the new library despite concern from one local developer the building does not fully capture the historic feel of the downtown.
The site plan for the library was approved 5-0 pending Board of Zoning Appeals approval on setbacks and variances, and the incorporation of the agreement between the city and library for the joint parking lot into the record.
Plan Commission President John Marshall said prior to the vote that while he respects developer and Realtor Thomas Fleming for what he has done for the city of Crown Point, the plan commission is not the right venue for his concerns.
“If the (Historic Preservation Committee) approved the plan, that is kind of what we have to go off,” Marshall said.
Jeff Ban with DVG Engineers said the new library will sit on about 1.45 acres at 122 N. Main St. The city has purchased the Homann Karate Do to raze the building to make way for a combined library and municipal parking lot that will work as a green space buffer between the south of the library building and the existing downtown businesses.
The entrance to the library will be in the center of that green space buffer bringing library visitors from both Main and East street to the off street main entrance. There will be no entrance to the library on East or Main streets.
Chuck Wolf with Design Organization, the project architect, said design of the building has taken into account the concerns of the historic preservation committee.
The façade facing Main Street draws design elements from downtown turn of the century architecture common in Indiana including a kick plate, display window and transom. The second floor replicates the design elements of the first floor.
The structure, the majority of which is two story, will be a mix of limestone and red brick. A 6,500-square-foot third floor will be used for administration and storage and recedes from the front of the building.
Fleming said he understood the plan commission meeting was not the proper forum, but missed the opportunity to be heard before the Historic Preservation Committee. In a letter presented Monday to the Plan Commission, Fleming said he would consider filing an injunction to prevent the building from being constructed as it is currently designed.
After the site plan approval Fleming said he has been working on meeting with Mayor David Uran, the library board and the historic preservation committee regarding his concerns.
Fleming said he would like the façade of the building that fronts Main Street only to be redesigned to be more similar to the historic nature of other downtown buildings.
Fleming and his son Ryan said they are pro-library and want the building to be downtown, but are disappointed by the lack of effort to keep the design true to the historic nature of the downtown.
In his opinion, Thomas Fleming said the Historic Preservation Committee has held other business owners to higher standards when it comes to compliance than the library, possibly due to the desire to keep the library downtown.
“I think they are giving up too much,” he said.