Monday, January 3, 2011

Property line dispute delays project completion

The Green Parrott building’s now outside wall remains uninsulated and exposed to the elements because of a property line dispute. The “leaning” building owned by Betty Deaton, which stood to the right, was ordered torn down and was removed in June. (Tribune-News photo by TRSmith)

Tribune-News correspondent
Two years ago, local citizens Katie Till and Coleen French had a vision for updating old playground equipment in South Whitley’s town park. 
They began to serve on the park board and brought a design for a park with age-appropriate play areas to the council a year later; a feature of the design was a play village allowing interactive play for young children.  
Despite fundraising hampered by a slow economy, Till, French and the other park board members have managed to put $23,000 in the bank toward the park, they informed the town council on December 28.  
They can also count on $25,000 from the town’s 2010 budget and $15,000 from the 2011 budget, along with about $9,500 pledged for the new year. 
Although disappointed when a possible partnership with Parkview Hospital fell victim to the economy, Till and French are hopeful that they will receive a matching grant from the USDA.
“We will hold off (spending) until the first of the year to see if we get the grant and not risk losing any potential money,” French said.
With luck, construction of the play village will begin by mid-2011.
Council members will be seeking grant money themselves for the upcoming Phase II of the storm/sanitary sewer separation project, focusing on the wastewater treatment plant.  Tom Bernhard from the USDA Rural Development informed the council about federal grant and loan options. 
Brenhard said currently loans are available at 2.5 percent interest, with that rate being adjustable every quarter.  The first step toward eligibility is an engineering report, something the council directed engineering firm Fleis & Vandenbrink to do at the December 14, 2010 meeting.  The council received loan and grant applications for review.
As expected, the situation with an exposed outer wall at the Green Parrot bar is becoming critical with the onset of winter weather.
“We’ve already had busted pipes and heating bills are tremendous because there is no insulation,” owner Randy Striggle said.
The council had ordered that repairs to the wall be made by the end of November, but a question about the property line was raised by Gary Hicks, representing his mother-in-law, Betty Deaton, who owns the property to the south.
Hicks believes that a repaired south wall will encroach on the property line. Town attorney Greg Hockemeyer met with both parties early in December, and no solution was reached.  There will be no building permit issued by the county building department until the property line issue is resolved. 
The council has scheduled an executive meeting for January 11, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. to deal with the issue.
John Dunn is the council president for 2011; Tonya Warner, vice-president with Joan Eberhart as member.

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