Properties to be appraised along corridor

Photo By Candy Neal/The Herald
A developer has expressed interest in property — owned by the city — at the southwest corner of Main and 14th streets in Huntingburg.

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG — Another step was taken Tuesday in the development of two properties along the Main Street Corridor in Huntingburg

Appraisals will be done for 802 N. Main St., the site of the former Dairyland gas station and Shell Oil building. The Huntingburg Common Council approved Tuesday night getting two appraisals for negotiations to obtain an option for the city to purchase the site.

“This will be a good starting point for the negotiations,” Councilman Tim Wehr said.

The property is being considered for the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ Blight Clearance Program.

Because of COVID-19, the program’s financing was redirected to other needs in the state. Officials anticipate funding to be in place again next year or the following year, City Attorney Phil Schneider told the council Tuesday.

Once the program is funded again, it will offer up to $500,000 that can be used to acquire and rehabilitate a property; it will require a local 10% match.

To stay in consideration for the program, Schneider and Mayor Denny Spinner recommended moving forward with the appraisal and negotiations to get an option to purchase the property. The option would be good for 18 to 24 months.

“We want to be ready to make that move, if and when the funding the available again,” Spinner said.

If the grant is awarded, the city can move forward with buying the property and demolishing the buildings. As part of the agreement, the city would have to keep the property clear as open space for five years. After that, the city can develop the property. Schneider also recommended that the city obtain two appraisals for the property at the southwest corner of Main and 14th streets.

“A developer has approached the city indicating an interest in doing a commercial development on that lot,” he said. The property is in the city’s Main Street Economic Development Area.

Normally, properties that are valued at $15,000 or more would have to be opened to a public bidding. But since this property is in a designated economic development area, negotiations can be made directly with an interested party, Schneider explained.

Although the name of the developer or the development was not shared, Spinner said the lot is a little more than an acre. A sign for the Huntingburg Event Center sits on the site; the sign would likely be discussed in the negotiations, Schneider said.

The council supported the development of the property and approved getting the appraisals for the negotiations.

The council also

  • Approved opening round two of the Huntingburg Emergency Loan Program to help small businesses in Huntingburg affected by COVID-19 outbreak. The program allows the businesses to apply for up to $5,000 at an interest rate of 1.5%. The application period will start Monday. Applications, which will be available online, will be due by Sept. 3. Loans will be awarded on Sept. 14.
  • Approved removing one parking space on the west side of Geiger Street just north of Fourth Street, to make it easier for traffic to get through and turn at the intersection. The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety recommend the change.
  • Discussed the process of reaching out to those who are delinquent on utility bills due to COVID-19, since the statewide moratorium for shutting off utilities expires Friday. The council directed that those delinquent customers be sent a notice about the terms of a six-month utility bill amortization agreement in which they can enroll to catch up on the bills; the arrangement will be offered for one billing cycle.
  • Rescheduled the date for reviewing 2021 budget requests. The council will review the requests on Friday, Aug. 21; meetings were set for 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The meetings will be held in the council chambers, which is on the second floor of City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.



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