Andrews council hoping to use additional funding for more storm water infrastructure projects

The Andrews Town Council wants to see a storm water infrastructure project initiated on East McKeever Street.

Council just doesn’t want to see it happen twice.

That was the board’s message to Jay Stankiewicz, of civil engineering firm Fleis & VandenBrink, which serves as the bidding and construction administrator for the town’s forthcoming roadway improvement projects, during its meeting on Monday, Dec. 11. Council discussed with Stankiewicz how the town’s Community Crossings matching grant, which totals $304,125 and was obtained in September, pays for much of the same work that an Office of Community and Rural Affairs community development block grant does that the town filed a proposal for on Dec. 1.

The construction that council is interested in seeing performed on East McKeever Street centers on the installation of a new mainline storm sewer and inlets at every intersection.

With the revelation that the Community Crossings funds will finance the work that council intended to use the OCRA funds for, the board directed Stankiewicz to contact Region 3A Development and Regional Planning Commission and request that the OCRA funds sought in the town’s proposal – $600,000 in all – be reallocated to other storm water infrastructure projects in town, such as one proposed for West McKeever Street. Stankiewicz replied that he would be in touch with OCRA, as well as the Indiana Department of Transportation.

In other business:

Council discussed a structure fire that occurred earlier that day at 48 S. Main St. The fire, said Council President Bill Johnson, originated on the second floor of the building, which contains apartments. The Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development and Tom Wuensch, chief of the Andrews Volunteer Fire Department, declared the building unsafe, pending a thorough inspection by a structural engineer on Dec. 12. For at least that night, the building’s occupants were displaced.

The board authorized a contract with United Technologies Corporation that will give the company permission to access test wells it has drilled around town for water sampling. Council leveled a $2,000 access fee at UTC in the pact for the anticipated loss of productivity in the town office, due to the expected onslaught of phone calls by citizens puzzled by what UTC’s agents are doing on their properties. Johnson explained that the contract gives UTC permission to be on citizens’ properties when conducting test well activities.

Council discussed establishing a policy for the rental of the Andrews Municipal Building. Clerk-Treasurer Laura Dillon noted that her office had received many calls from individuals interested in reserving the space in the wake of a local Alcoholics Anonymous group being granted permission to use the facility. The board noted that the main reason that group got the go-ahead to utilize the building was because its previous meeting place, the Andrews Community Building, was permanently closed by the town on Nov. 13 due to severe water damage. Councilman John Harshbarger suggested establishing in a proposed rental agreement that the town would only entertain rental proposals from nonprofit groups.

The board stated that the Shepherd’s Food Pantry would not be holding a food distribution event in December due to Fort Wayne-based Community Harvest Food Bank, which supplies the pantry with items, being unavailable to inspect a new location for the pantry this month. An inspection is required as a condition of receiving items from the food bank. The pantry, like the Alcoholics Anonymous group, was left searching for a new space in the wake of the Community Building’s closure.