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Oolitic Town Council Takes Next Step In Safe Routes To School
Updated May 5, 2013 1:12 AM
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(OOLITIC) - The Oolitic Town Council Monday night gave Town Attorney Greg Pittman permission to seek two appraisals so the city can move forward with their Safe Routes To School.

The appraisals are required so INDOT can begin the process of eminent domain of property owned by business man, Kenny Hawkins.

Hawkins has refused to donate his property on Hoosier Avenue for the side walk project because of the possible repercussions to his business.

Eminent domain is the power to take private property for public use by the state.

Safe Routes to School project, would add sidewalks on the east side of Hoosier Avenue from Fourth Street to Ninth Street.

INDOT says they will pay for the process to acquire the land for the project.

The project is in a standstill because of Kenny Hawkins refusal to give an easement for the sidewalk in front of his property.

So far, all the town's residents have granted easement rights expect Hawkins.

Pittman says he meet with Hawkins and his lawyer and the engineers so Hawkins could ask questions and address issues. Hawkins after talking to the engineer, and meeting with his lawyer, advised the town he did not want to grant the easement.

The town was hoping to let bids for the project in April, but that was pushed back until sometime in May.

In other business:

*The council is in the process of receiving three appraisals for the property at the dead end of Welsh Avenue. Pittman says he checked on the commercial appraisals and they should be complete by the end of the week. The council will then decide if they will lease or sale the property.

The town filed a lawsuit to determine who owned the property. During the suit Bob Szemsack claimed his wife's family owned the property, but that suit determined the city owned it.

Now businessman, Jack Kellams would like to purchase the property to put up a billboard that would face Ind. 37 from both the north and south sides to advertise his Antique Mall on Main Street in Oolitic.

Szemsack asked the council Monday who paid for the lawsuit.

"We (the town) paid $400 to a moderator and as instructed by the council, Mr. Kellams was given the bill for the lawsuit which was just under $10,000," says Clerk Treasurer Jim Staley. "Kellams Inc. paid that bill."

* Sue Holmes, with the Oolitic Festival Committee, says the committee will host a golf scramble on May 11. They are looking for individuals or business to sponsors holes. Anyone wanting to participate can pick up a sponsorship or entry form at Town Hall.

There are also forms available for vendors and retailers who would like to set up during the festival on June 15. Those wanting to participate in the parade can pick up an entry forms at Town Hall.

She also asked the council to allow the public to use the restroom at Town Hall and the Community Center. The city will close Main Street to Third Street for the parade route.

The committee also asked that residents not park on Indiana Avenue blocking traffic.

*Staley asked the council to grant permission for him to attend the clerk treasurer school in Indianapolis on May 29. The school will cost $170 plus travel expenses. He also requested to attend the State Board Of Account training on June 10, 11, 12. That school will cost $400 and travel expenses. Staley says the funding for the school has been appropriated.

* Staley reported to the council the winter snow removal costs. The town spent $7,866.80 on sand and salt.

* Councilman Bill Kendal asked if any progress was being made by the residents at 1000 Walnut Street in getting their property cleaned up. Town Deputy Marshal Billy Allen says the homeowners were issued a citation and have 10 days to clean the property up.

"They have until Friday," Allen told the council. "They are making progress. I drove by there right before the meeting and checked on it and they are cleaning it up."

* Kendall also asked about the installation of the town's new water meters.

"They have 170 for the 290 installed," Staley says. "And we are seeing a savings."

The town purchases water from Bedford and Staley says the amount used has dropped from the high 20 percent to around 9 percent.

Council President Delvin Nikirk says the street department will be working on replacing the rest of the meters within the next couple of weeks.

* The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 28 at 6:30 pm because of the Memorial Day Holiday

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