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Parking Lot Flap Cuts Off Access To Jail

February 5, 1985

VERMILION, Ohio (AP) _ The big worry at the town jail isn’t how to stop prisoners from escaping - it’s how to get them in.

A squabble with the owner of a parking lot that borders the jail has cut off access.

But city fathers in this Lake Erie resort community expect to have the matter locked up before a court hearing into the dispute Wednesday.

Larry Dickerhoff, who owns the parking lot bordering the jail and the city police station, forebade city officials to cross his property after he hiked the rent on their parking spaces and they refused to pay.

Police officers enter the building at the front. But that entrance has steps and a state regulation requires that prisoners must enter and leave jails only by ground-level doors, officials said.

Mayor Hobart A. Johnson said the city would have to pay to use the jails in Lorain or Erie counties if it needed to jail someone. But Vermilion has been relatively crime free since the dispute began.

Talks with Dickerhoff are continuing in hopes of resolving the impasse, Johnson said. Meanwhile, the city council failed Monday to muster the necessary five votes to take the parking lot through eminent domain.

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