Corydon council favors Gerdon site for skate park
Mike Arnold, Contributing Writer
The Corydon Town Council settled on the former Gerdon Auto Sales property, along East Chestnut Street, as the possible future site of a skate park during its regular meeting last Tuesday evening at the town hall.
Corydon officials have been in discussions with Hunger Skateparks, of Bloomington, which has shown interest in completing a project in town. The council considered several locations, including the former Keller Manufacturing Co. property and the Flags Over Corydon site. Hunger management requested selection of a site and will visit to continue negotiations and planning.
The old Gerdon site includes a building which, if kept, would require an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 in repairs to its masonry, roof, paint and interior, among other necessary upgrades, council president Lester (Les) Rhoads said.
Since the proposed site is located in a designated flood plain, certain guidelines apply for rehabilitation and/or construction.
The council also talked through tearing down the existing building, which would make it possible to locate the skate park farther east on the property.
“If we tear it down, we’ll never be able to put anything there again,” Councilman Doug Castetter said.
Rhoads noted there was interest in renting the building should it remain, and councilwoman Hope Schneider asked if it would cause any issues if the building remained in place while the town researched its options.
“Is it going to hurt anything if it sits there a little while?” Schneider asked.
The council agreed to postpone any action on the building while it takes time to review regulations for commercial structures in the flood plain.
New construction is permissible in certain situations, so long as applicable requirements are met. The site presents another advantage since rest rooms are already in place and ample space is available to add parking, if necessary.
“We better let it ride and keep it there,” Rhoads said of the building.
Susan Mills, administrative assistant for the town planning and zoning department, said if the Gerdon building were demolished, a new structure could be built there, if it were sufficiently elevated. In addition, Mills said, rules for rehabilitating a property in the flood plain are more flexible than for new construction but carry certain financial limitations. For example, funds put into an existing building could total only 50% of appraised value, including labor calculated at the market rate.
Mills also mentioned if the site was designated part of the town’s historic district, for which it likely qualifies, it could be eligible for issuance of a certificate of appropriation. If granted, that would allow for a zoning variance to accommodate repairs to the existing structure. Mills indicated she could provide the council with additional details on the process and what is available.
Meanwhile, the council will secure estimates for repairing the building to share with Hunger Skateparks during its upcoming meeting.
In another matter, the council voted 4-0 (Council vice president Paul Hamann was absent) to adopt its proposed 2022 budget. The total amount approved was $2,422,934 and the tax levy will be $1,067,000. The tax rate for 2022 was set at 75.73 cents. Public safety saw a budget amount of $102,500 with $20,000 set aside for parking.
The council also voted to send a letter to the Harrison County Regional Sewer District board confirming it will take sewer readings from flow meters, based on water readings of what is purchased from Ramsey Water Co. Inc. That method is the sewer district’s preference for calculating charges.
“That seems to be the way they want it,” Rhoads said.
In other business, the council:
• Appropriated an additional $9,116.38 for an ongoing generator project nearing completion. “Everything’s in,” Rhoads said. “We still saved close to $40,000 by going with the other structure.”
• Completed annual approval of a $100 bond for Betty Purucker for cemetery services.
• Agreed to allow the town’s board of zoning appeals to deliver a letter to 405 Floyd St. related to inappropriate usage of a travel trailer on the premises.
The town council’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the town hall.