Settlement to be offered for land near new park


HUNTINGBURG — The City of Huntingburg will offer a property owner near Market Street Park a payment for land on which an underground electrical box for the park was installed.

The Huntingburg Common Council agreed Tuesday evening to make the offer to Grant Swartzentruber of Washington-based GSES LLC.

Swartzentruber filed a lawsuit in February, claiming that the city used part of his property, located at 317 E. Fourth St., without permission. The property includes China Wok on the first floor and apartments on the second floor. Swartzentruber requested that a jury trial be held to determine what part of his property was used, and to determine the compensation for that use.

The lawsuit stated that the city used GSES’ property for staging and storing materials and equipment without compensating the owner. The courts determined this summer that it was the contractor, not the city, that did, and that part of the suit was dismissed.

Swartzentruber also claimed in the suit that the city permanently installed an electrical box on his property, which the city acknowledged. The city has since been trying to negotiate a settlement to obtain that piece of property.

The amount that will be offered is $1,050, which is the appraisal of the property, and $150 for the box, said Indianapolis attorney Chou-il Lee, who is handling the lawsuit on behalf of the city.

“By law we must pay fair market value,” he said. “What’s being requested [by Swartzentruber] is far above that.”

If this amount is not accepted, Lee recommended proceeding with the court process, to which the council consented.

The council also:

• Extended its contract with Hafer and Associates for design work for a future senior center. The city will close out its Stellar program at the end of the year, which means other state grant opportunities will be available starting next year, Mayor Denny Spinner said.

• Passed an ordinance that stipulates various regulations for the newly redesigned Fourth Street, including parking allowances and weight restrictions for vehicles using the street. Another ordinance was passed amending truck routes on streets near Fourth.

• Passed an ordinance to eliminate parking on the south side of 12th Street between Main Street and the alley that is 125 feet east of Main Street; on the north side of 12th between Main and Jackson streets; and on both sides of First Street between Chestnut and Sycamore streets.

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