Posted on

Council OKs study of 3B Barrel

Council OKs study of 3B Barrel
Council OKs study of 3B Barrel
Harrison County Councilmen Alvin Brown, left, and Gary Davis look at some of the barrels remaining at the 3B Barrel facility in Central Barren last week. (Photo by Randy West)

The Harrison County Council Monday night approved funds for an environmental study of 3B Barrels & Drums at Central Barren, the first step toward getting the property cleared, sold, and back on the tax rolls.
First District Commissioner James E. Goldman, whose district includes the former Wenning Packing Co. plant, had asked for the money, $29,591, to hire an environmental consulting firm to conduct tests at the site to identify any concerns.
“I think we have a unified effort going here to get the job done,” Goldman said Monday night, obviously pleased with the council’s action.
“When we get that (report) back, we will know what we’re dealing with,” he said, referring to the environmental report. “Hopefully, it won’t be too severe.”
No taxes have been paid on the property for several years, so the land reverted to the county after no one was willing to pay the nearly $200,000 in back taxes to buy the vacant building and a little more than 25.7 acres. Those taxes have been written off as uncollectable.
At least one potential buyer has offered to purchase the site and clean up any environmental problems, if they are first identified.
Councilman Alvin Brown’s motion, seconded by Kenneth Saulman, to approve the spending passed unanimously.
First, council chair Gary Davis told Goldman and others in the audience that he and Brown had inspected the vacant building last week.
“There are a number of rooms empty, but there’s still a considerable amount of drums, trash and items in the plant,” Davis said. “Nobody was working (on the clean-up) while we were there, but there’s been good progress in cleaning up the eyesore.”
According to the latest reports, friends of Alan C. Blackman, the owner of 3B Barrels which last operated in the plant, had been clearing drums and other debris from inside. Blackman was sent to jail in January for violating probation because he had made little attempt to clean up the site.
Superior Court Judge Roger D. Davis said at the time he won’t consider releasing Blackman until the property is cleaned up, to the judge’s and deputy prosecutor Dennis Byrd’s satisfaction.
Blackman had pleaded guilty in November 1999 to two felony counts of storing hazardous waste at the site. He was released on probation and ordered to have the clean-up completed.
Funding for the environmental assessment will come from Caesars Indiana gaming revenue, in the economic development account, which has a $1 million balance not spoken for in this year’s budget.