Andrews council gets update from DCD

The Andrews Town Council received an update from the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development on its activities in town during council’s meeting on Monday, July 8.

Marla Stambazze, the department’s land use division/office coordinator, reported on the status of an abandoned house at 195 W. Jefferson St. and trailers in Antioch Mobile Home Park.

Of the house, Stambazze noted that its condition was deteriorating after progress had been made to clean it up earlier this year. An individual who had been working on the house, said Stambazze, had ceased those efforts. With progress no longer being made on improving the structure, Stambazze shared that the house’s siding had begun to fall off and that a door to the basement was ajar, allowing the elements in.

Given the worsening condition of the house, Stambazze recommended that council consider demolition. Before moving forward with that rec- ommendation, the board decided to give the son of the house’s deceased owner one last opportunity to improve the structure, with a deadline of Saturday, July 20.

Regarding trailers in Antioch Mobile Home Park, Stambazze stated that an unsafe building inspection would be conducted on Wednesday, July 17. She expressed hope that the park’s manager would be present for the inspection, per a request by DCD.

Of the trailers, which Stambazze has seen, she opined that they were too dilapidated to save.

“At this point, the trailers that we have the complaint on, those need to be completely removed,” she said. “Those are horrible.”

Stambazze also noted that a house at 4648 S. Main St. would be inspected on Thursday, July 18. That structure, she said, had previously been damaged by a fire and was in poor condition.

On a related matter, council passed Ordinance 2019-3, updating the town’s unsafe building law. The new law formally sets the board as the hearing authority for unsafe building matters and prescribes monetary penalties for violations of the law.

Council gave an update on the town’s pursuit of a grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Council President Bill Johnson reported that OCRA had informed the board that its application for a Community Development Block Grant would be accepted, provided it resolves an issue pertaining to the closure of a previous OCRA grant within 60 days. Johnson noted that the town’s grant administrator, Mike Kleinpeter, of Kleinpeter Consulting Group LLC, would be assisting the town with that process.

The town is tasked with resolving a violation of the Davis-Bacon Act, which is a federal law that stipulates the minimum wage rate for laborers and mechanics employed on public works projects. This violation is preventing council from closing out the OCRA grant that it used to facilitate the construction of the town’s new wastewater treatment plant.

If the board is able to resolve the violation, Johnson stated that the town should know by Aug. 15 if its grant application has been approved. In the event that it is, council will use the grant, totaling $600,000, to install a stormwater system on McKeever Street from Jackson Street to Loon Creek.