New Carlisle City Council unanimously rejected the donation of the Belle Manor building to the city.
The city performed numerous inspections of the buildings, including design and architecture, roofing, HVAC, asbestos and occupancy requirements.
The result of the inspections indicated higher renovation and upkeep costs than expected.
Some of the estimated costs included:
Monthly utility bills increasing from $290/month to $2,700 per month
Four boilers in use between 20 and 40+ years with replacement costs of $7,500 to $15,000 each
Four Air Conditioning units in use between 5 and 14 years with one described as “much older.” Replacement costs are $4000 to $6000 each
Anticipated roof replacement costs within 3-5 years of $30,000
Anticipated roof replacement costs within 15-20 years of $225,000 to $275,000
Numerous instances of asbestos materials that would have to be removed
“This is incredible,” said Mayor Mike Lowrey of the report. “From the bottom of my heart, I appreciate the hard work you put into this report.” Lowrey then cited the roofing expenses, then made a motion to turn down the “generous offer.”
“I think you’re making the wisest decision you could,” said City Manager Randy Bridge. He said he could not justify encumbering future generations with such massive repair bills.
Other council members expressed concern that the city could be saddled with another situation like the Madison Street School.
“We will have to move city hall,” said Bridge. “City workers are sandwiched in the building we have now.” He said that he has been in contact with owners of other buildings in town looking for a suitable location for city hall.
Council Member Rick Lowrey thanked the city residents who have spoken on this matter at previous council meetings. “We’ve been accused of not listening to the people, but we did this time,” he said.
Since council has turned down the donation, the community meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 25 has been cancelled.
In other action, City Service Director Howard Kitko announced that bids would be going out for Phase III and Phase IV of the Prentice Dr. reconstruction within the next 2-3 weeks. The work would be paid for with street levy funds and CDBG grants.
He also said that bids for repairs to Spinning, Willowick, Applewood, Cloverleaf and Pepperwood would be opened on May 18. The estimated cost for these projects is $206,000 and would be funded by city street levy funds. Also included in the bids is the section of Rt. 235 in front of Wot-A-Dog that would be funded by State highway funds.
Council also approved an ordinance to have the Scarff Road water tower inspected so that bids could be put out for repairs.
Roy Kegley, owner of Abe’s Hidden Treasures, spoke out against the State’s proposal to make turn lanes on Main Street at Jefferson Street and eliminating at least 20 parking spaces. “There will be absolutely no place for my customers to park,” said Kegley.
“When I first became City Manager, I wanted to get a modern traffic light at that intersection,” said Bridge. “Then the State came in with the turn lanes and fewer parking spaces.” Bridge said he was against the elimination of parking spaces because it would be detrimental to downtown businesses.
A public meeting to hear citizen comments on the State’s proposal will be held on June 14 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the New Carlisle Fire Station.
Council also heard a presentation from DEFY for Child Abuse Prevention and issued a proclamation designating Thursday, May 25 as “Make a Difference in the life of a child” day in New Carlisle.
Mayor Lowrey also issued a proclamation to the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #286 designating Saturday, May 20 as “Poppy Day” in New Carlisle. Poppies are distributed by the American Legion as a symbol of the sacrifice of lives in all wars.
The next meeting of the New Carlisle City Council will be on Monday, June 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Smith Park Shelter House. The public is invited to attend.