Board of Works grants infrastructure progress

·4 min read

Jul. 7—The city is taking the next steps in its plan to improve local infrastructure.

Approved Wednesday during the Logansport Board of Public Works & Safety meeting, George Street between 11th and 22nd streets will get a new surface.

Central Paving won the project bid at a cost of approximately $230,600. Subcontracts will need to be fulfilled, meaning the timetable for the work has not yet been established, said Dep. Mayor Jacob Pomasl.

Likewise, information regarding any road closures was not readily available.

But progress remains at the forefront, which is why Arin Shaver, executive director of the Planning Department, requested permission to issue an engagement letter with The Appraisal Shop Inc. of Flora for an appraisal to be completed at the future site of Lexington Village, a single-family dwelling neighborhood.

The board granted the request, allowing the firm to value the land west of Yorktown Road and south of High Street, behind Walmart, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Mary Max Cinemas. Per the agreement, the city will rely on the appraisal for negotiation with the developer for supplying "all or some part of the land or infrastructure needed to develop approximately 52 single-family building lots at this location."

The company has 30 days to complete its work and present findings to Shaver. The fee for services is not to exceed $1,000.

A third infrastructure improvement involves the new Intermediate School off of Chase Road.

The board approved a street cut so that new water service could be connected to the site. The connection will be at the north end of Woodbridge Street in the cul-de-sac. Once the work is finished, gravel, asphalt, and green areas will be added to repair the work location.

Then, three residences became the focus of improvement.

Despite David Nethercutt, chief operating officer of Bluelight Inc., the company that owns and manages 719 E. Market St., providing various explanations as to why the Market Street property has been the subject of many violations, the board agreed to fine Bluelight.

Nethercutt told the board that while he did not have knowledge of violations prior to 2018, he blamed tenants and trash service for not following through with upkeep.

However, Pomasl said the duty to inspect, maintain, and ensure tenants and those associated with services falls to the property owner. And that has not been happening. In fact, the property has been cited seven times since 2015 for violating Ordinance 2013-19. The latest citations occurred within a 12-month period. When that happens, property owners could be fined up to $5,000.

According to Jamey Harper, code enforcement officer, the property has had yard waste, recyclables, trash, and debris thrown about in the lawn. Some debris has included electrical equipment, mattresses, and abandoned vehicles.

Arguing with the board regarding whose responsibility it is to keep the site clean, Nethercutt said Waste Management would bypass the Dumpster, failing to pick up trash at its 4 a.m. Monday removal time. Even though a new, larger Dumpster has been installed at the site, he said he cannot travel daily from Evansville to make sure people follow through on what they say they will do.

"You're the property owner," said Pomasl. "It's your responsibility to make sure your tenants take care of the property."

Mayor Chris Martin agreed, saying that even though Nethercutt came before the board, the issue has been ongoing for far too long. Instead of slapping the maximum penalty on Bluelight, the board passed a lesser fee of $2,000.

Likewise, the board opted to move forward with demolition of 318 Gates Street/533 Reynolds St. Previous Building Commissioner Wayne Erwin recorded a plan of action filed by property owners, Ronald L. and Ann M. Harmon, but nothing has been done since the original action taken against the couple on Sept. 9, 2020.

Therefore, the city will raze the site and fine the couple for the cost of the work, pursuant to Ordinance 97-32.

Finally, Paul Willham of Logansport Landmarks questioned the city's ordinance regarding adjacent property and fence requirements. He said sites near 815 S. 15th St. may have been measured inaccurately. It's possible a neighbor's fence is encroaching on another's property, he said, asking the mayor to instruct the city's building inspector to verify that the location of the fence is appropriate. And if it's not, to ensure that the property owner get in compliance with the ordinance.

Martin said that "we are not spending money to do one survey for one piece of property." He suggested Willham seek alternate means of resolving the issue.

However, Willham countered the mayor's argument by saying that he was not seeking a survey. Instead, he simply wants the inspector to take a tape measure, figure out the width of the lot versus the width of the land where the fence sits, and make sure that property owners are in compliance with the ordinance that is already established by the city.

The board listened to the information, but never voted on the topic.

Reach Kristi Hileman at kristi.hileman@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5150

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