Town Council Meeting - 10-14-14by Amy Wenger on October 17, 2014
In time, it will become better known what the town of Bremen hopes to have happen with defining the purpose of a newly acquired parcel of land.
But for now, the roughly three and a half acre lot, part of a proposed housing development at the corner of Grant and Birkey streets, is a gift from longtime residents John and Sandra McIntyre, along with their son, Michael. And the one thing that everyone agrees upon thus far with regards to the site - it is a welcome and generous gesture. Members of the Bremen town council graciously accepted the donation during their recent session, held on Tuesday, October 14. The date was moved from Monday evening on account of the Columbus Day holiday.
Through attorneys representing both interests, the family has been in discussions with the town, in the original intent of having the area converted into a park, something that was outlined as such in a deed presented to town officials several weeks ago. Questions were raised as to what responsibilities and liabilities would fall to the park and the town at large in declaring such a stipulation, with issues such as maintenance, access points, and mowing all cited as concerns.
The McIntyres have since revealed that they merely wanted the land to be utilized as something that would be beneficial for the community, such as a playground, a church, or possibly even a small retail venture. All that they asked in return, they said, was for the area not to be converted into industrial usage. They also mentioned that they would like to erect a memorial stone or something similar in remembrance of their son, Keith, who passed away in 1977.
Because the family was making plans to spend time out of state, the official action to accept their donation was approved upon, with expedited paperwork finalizing the arrangement expected to be handled the following morning.
Lebermuth/Leman site report
Director of Operations Trend Weldy stated that he had received a copy of the Phase 1 analysis on the Lebermuth property, a former building of the Leman mint enterprise, located on South Center Street. To much of everyone's apparent surprise, Weldy informed the council that no environmental hazards were found on the property. However, Weldy noted that the asbestos study has not yet been completed. The opinion thus far seems to be that there may only be trace amounts to be discovered in the insulations materials.
Weldy also shared an update on another property near downtown that has been rendered an eyesore. The building and the land it rests on, situated at 213 West Plymouth Street and sometimes referred to as the former Tucker barbershop, have been bought by a nearby property owner, who plans to demolish the structure and possibly use the land to enhance and renovate his own residence.
Moving forward with Clark station
Town Attorney Anthony Wagner advised the council that they should now proceed with moving forward on declaring their intent to purchase the former Clark station at 905 West Plymouth Street. Before those steps can begin though, Wagner noted that further studies should be done to determine the extent of any ground water contamination and related environmental issues that could potentially be involved at and beneath the corner lot. Wagner said that it would also be necessary to draw up a resolution for the public and town to have reference to, in which it would more clearly state the town's intentions with the lot. The popular mindset is to purchase the site and sell it to a prospective buyer who would be willing to renovate and perhaps redesign the area into something appealing, as the decrepit building is located at one of the community's most visible thoroughfares.
Wagner said that he has fielded a number of complaints and concerns from residents, and everyone is agreeable to the notion that the building is a blight to the town and very much unsafe. Wagner gave Weldy the authorization to begin procuring appraisals for the site, which will be valuable information to have prepared for the eventual resolution.
Weldy also spoke about a recent meeting he had with Mindy Penrose from the Marshall County assessor's office. The conversation turned to the topic of tax abatements, in which Penrose suggested that Bremen might want to revisit and revamp the procedures involved with granting those abatements. She advised Weldy that future tax abatement applications should not simply be "rubber stamped" and nebulously moved through channels, but that particular criteria should be examined in light of the request. For example, will the tax abatement on a specific improvement to a company translate into job creation?
Weldy said that it would likely be necessary for the town to hold work sessions to further delve into this issue, and that in the future, tax abatement requests will be handled in a more discriminating manner.
In other business, the council:
- Heard an announcement from Water and Street Department Superintendent Alex Mikel, regarding a donation from the township of $1800 worth of hydrant markers. These marking devices will be invaluable to the municipal workers and volunteers as the snowfall piles up and evenings grow longer this winter, for those markers will help indicate where fire hydrants are placed.
- Approved a request from police chief Matt Hassel to close Jackson and Maple streets on the night of October 28, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The roadways will be used for the town's annual Kiwanis party.