Waterline would be backup to nursing home area


FERDINAND — The water system on the southeast side of Ferdinand near the new Scenic Hills at the Monastery needs a better backup service.

Water Supervisor Roger Schaefer is proposing that new pipe be installed to make a loop to access the water tap the town has from the Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District.

“This opens up the area and water can be fed off the south water tap we have with Patoka,” Schaefer told the Ferdinand Town Council Tuesday night. “Right now, there is no loop.”

The water department installed a 10-inch main last year along St. Benedict Drive for the new Scenic Hills at The Monastery, a more than 70,000-square-foot senior living facility that residents moved into Tuesday. The line currently ends where the street changes to County Road 285 East.

“If we have a failure with the line or if we ever take that water tower out of service, we gotta have a backup source somewhere,” Schaefer said.

He proposed connecting a new pipe to the pipe along St. Benedict Drive, a new 10-inch pipe west to Florida Street and then an 8-inch pipe would go north to connect to the pipe at East Eighth Street.

“It will provide better fire protection as well as better water backup for the water tower located near St. Benedict,” Schaefer said.

The work would be done behind the curb and gutter, he said, because he does not want to cut the road.

As part of the proposal, the utility needs to obtain easements. Schaefer asked the council to help with talking to the Sisters of St. Benedict, as well as other landowners whose property the new pipe would run.

The council agreed to help with the process, which is still being developed.

The council also:

• Started the process for granting a tax abatement to Ranger Realty/Universal Package. The company is renovating the building on Virginia Street between Third and Fifth streets. Part of the building will be demolished and rebuilt, and the rest will be remodeled. The $2.1 million investment will bring at least 21 jobs to the town. The company, which makes packing materials, hopes to move in in July. The real estate abatement would be for nine years with the first six years at 100% abatement, the seventh year at 75% abatement, the eighth year at 50% abatement and the last year at 25% abatement. The council will hold a public hearing on the matter at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Town Hall, 2065 Main St., before considering to declare the area as a revitalization area and approving the abatement. Councilman Ron Weyer recused himself from voting because the company he works for may do electrical work for Universal Package in the future.

• Approved changes to the zoning code to handle temporary fencing like backdrops and chicken coops differently than permanent fencing.

• Heard that Town Manager Chris James attended a meeting at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center about possibly placing a safe haven baby box in the Ferdinand area. Two Jasper Middle School students, Tori Hemmerlein and Isabella Harmon, have been doing presentations for organizations and are working on fundraising to have a baby box in the area. Dubois County Right to Life and some other citizens are interested in the project as well, James explained. James said there are 16 boxes located in the state, with the closest one to Dubois County being in Mount Vernon.

• Heard a presentation from Dubois Strong’s leader, Ed Cole.

• Heard from James that about 10,000 people came to this year’s Christkindlmarkt.

• Heard that the last Ferdinand Chamber of Commerce dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Ferdinand Community Center. The Ferdinand and Huntingburg chambers are merging and expanding to become the Dubois County Chamber of Commerce.

• Set the town’s tree lighting for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in the green space on Main Street near Universal Design’s building. Santa Claus will also come to town that evening.

• Set a meeting to go over the employee handbook. That meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Town Hall.

• Reappointed Matt Widolf to the Ferdinand Board of Zoning Appeals and heard Board President Ken Sicard appoint Don Farina Sr. to the board of zoning appeals. Both are four-year terms.

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