The City of Englewood has stopped suing the owners of a historic train depot who it said were moving too slow in turning the vacant building into a printing press museum.
Last September, Englewood sued Tom and Patti Parson, who own the Englewood Depot at 675 W. Dartmouth Ave. The Parsons bought the depot, which dates to 1915, from the city for $30,000 in 2013 and have worked to turn it into the Letterpress Depot, a nonprofit museum.
The lawsuit accused the Parsons of reneging on their agreement to create the museum and asked a judge to either force them to do that or return the property to the city.
“I don’t think they really understood what we were going through to get the building done,” Tom Parson said Monday as he listed the deteriorating depot’s many structural issues.
Last week, the lawsuit was settled when the Parsons agreed to a deadline for completion.
“We resisted that for a while and then we said, ‘What the heck,’ Tom Parson said. “It’s not hard for us to say that we want to do this, we want to make it happen and we will make it happen.”
The settlement, a copy of which was provided to BusinessDen, requires the museum to open to the public by early 2029 and remain open for one year after. If that doesn’t happen, or if the Parsons stop maintaining the property, the city can take back the old train depot.
When asked to comment this week, a City of Englewood spokesman emailed a slideshow about the settlement that had been prepared by the Englewood City Attorney’s Office.
“City of Englewood and its citizens will receive a community asset and benefit — but if not, can reacquire the property,” one slide of that presentation stated.
“Depot’s resources are conserved for construction, rather than litigation,” another bullet point noted. “Depot requirements for construction (and) operation are clear and concrete.”
Parson said the settlement changes nothing. He and his wife still plan to open the Letterpress Depot as soon as they can repair the century-old building it will occupy. In the meantime, they go out to elementary schools and show youngsters how printing presses operate.
That work continued while the Parsons were being sued but it was delayed by the case. A subcontractor backed out of the project and grant deadlines were missed.
“Our belief all along was that we would prevail on any issue because we have done exactly what we said we would do,” Tom Parson said by phone this week.
“But it has been a year of distraction for me, full of anxiety and distress, because of this.”