La PORTE – The impending need for temporary parking for county employees during repairs and construction on the U.S. 35 overpass have brought the city and county together in a proposed property swap that Board of Commissioner President Dr. Vidya Kora is declaring as a "win-win" for both entities.
Superior Construction recently approached the county indicating it would need was to stage trailers under the overpass this week and would begin construction in March on major reconstruction of the overpass.
That prompted discussions between the county and city on temporary parking for county employees whose parking in the lot north of Washington Street will be displaced through much of this year during construction.
At last week's Commissioners meeting, Kora specifically hailed the efforts of La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz for coming up with a solution that "is a great example of local government working together cooperatively for all our citizens and dedicated employees."
Under a memorandum of understanding approved unanimously by the Commissioners last Wednesday and the city's Board of Public Works the day before, La Porte will provide a sub-lease of the Norfolk-Southern parking area behind Ludwig's to the county so its employees can park there during work on the overpass.
As part of the memorandum, the city is committed to eventually taking title to the parking lot and conveying it in perpetuity to the county for overflow parking needs.
Once the memorandum was approved, La Porte County Highway Dept. crews moved millings from the county's millings pile off Johnson Road near the Toll Road to the Norfolk-Southern lot. Superior Construction crews then rolled the millings so that county employees have a smooth, safe parking lot starting this week.
Kora also thanked The La Porte County Herald-Argus and publisher Bill Hackney for "generously offering" some 15-20 spots in the large Herald-Argus lot north of the Monroe/Lincoln Way city lot for overflow county employee parking during construction.
In addition to conveying the Norfolk-Southern lot to the county, the memorandum commits the city to turning over "the Circle" between the La Porte County Courthouse and County Complex to the county. It will help in future parking needs for county patrons and potentially provide an access point if there is a single entry for security purposes built between the complex and courthouse.
In return, the county committed to convey to the city the parcel known as the "Don George parcel" at 150 Pine Lake Ave. for the city's future redevelopment needs.
The county obtained tax deed to the parcel several years ago due to unpaid taxes on the parcel, and the city had expressed interest in the parcel for redevelopment potentially connected with the NewPorte Landing project.
Krentz, who attended the Commissioners for the Commissioners' meeting was recognized by the the board for his willingness to "work out a solution that benefits both the county and city," and for his efforts at "intergovernmental cooperation."
—From staff reports