City

College receives occupancy permit extension for stadium

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Wabash College received a three-month extension Wednesday on a conditional occupancy permit for Little Giant Stadium through most of football season as parking is expanded for fans.

The permit, which was set to expire Saturday, will allow Wabash to dedicate the new $13 million facility before spectators at the Sept. 18 home opener against Allegheny College.

The 3,350-seat venue was on track to be ready for fans last fall until the 2020 football season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The occupancy permit was approved by the Crawfordsville Board of Works and Public Safety in October, opening the stadium for small events while construction was still underway on the parking lot.

As a condition for the permit, the college lost approximately 50 parking spaces for the stadium. The new lot, which is going up at Russell Avenue and Milligan Street near Wabash’s Collett Tennis Center, added about 70 spots.

The college later acquired and demolished a house and began expanding the lot to 90 spaces.

Wabash hoped the lot would be paved in time for fans to arrive Sept. 18, which is homecoming, but supply chain delays have pushed the timetable back.

The contractor now expects to finish the lot before the second home game Oct. 9, prompting the college to request the permit extension. The board voted to extend the permit through Oct. 15.

“It’s not going to completely mitigate all of our parking issues with football, but it does help and we are picking up additional spots, more than we previously had in terms of … what we had lost on the initial project,” said Adriann Rhoades, Wabash’s director of planning, design and construction.

Mayor Todd Barton asked the college to provide the city with a parking mitigation plan. Rhodes said the college is seeking additional land for parking. One potential area is the site where Wabash acquired and demolished another house at Jennison Street and Will H. Hays Jr. Drive, Rhodes said.

In other business, the board approved requests to close Pike Street at Pike Place from 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 8 for a community event hosted by New Hope Christian Church and again from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 21 for a Relay for Life luminaria ceremony.

Code enforcement requests were approved for properties at 410 S. Washington St. owned by Viola North and 6 Circle Drive owned by Lisa Clayton. Street commissioner Scott Hesler asked the board if there were any other options available for Clayton’s property, which is one of the lots frequently cleaned by the street department.

The board also approved a request to declare as surplus a 2004 Ford Taurus used by street department employees.

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