Markle Town Council hears it might get blighted space for storage spot

The Markle Town Council spent its final meeting of the year on Wednesday, Dec. 19, approving some housekeeping measures but also received word it will likely acquire a blighted property for use as storage space.

Marla Stambazze of the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development brought the property at 480 N. Clark St. back before the board, saying that after having no correspondence with the owner, Matthew Schrodi of Fort Wayne, it is now in the tax sale process.

At the last council meeting, they expressed interest in the property, which is comprised of two separate parcels, because of a garage on the site that is in decent shape and could be used for storage.

“I spoke to the president of the commissioners and he is willing to deed it over to the town if you’re still interested,” Stambazze said. “It would be a good structure for you to use for something. … That would be a win-win for everybody because I think it would be very costly to tear it down.”

Council President Jeff Humbarger agreed, leading the council by consensus to take title of the property.

“I think you estimated that it would only be $10,000 to $20,000 more to do the repairs than it would probably cost us to tear it down,” he said.

“If we could make it look nice and use it for storage then, like Marla said, it’s a win-win for everybody.”

The town will be able to take possession of the property after 120 days following the sale, Stambazze said.

In the ongoing matter of another property, located at 320 W. Morse St., Stambazze told the council she has been in touch with the owner, Natalie Gill, who agreed to tear the structure down to save the town the expense of doing it. The owner asked for a little more time to accomplish the demolition, she said. On Stambazze’s recommendation, the council agreed by consensus to give the owner until March 20 for teardown.

In other business before the council:

• The council voted unanimously to appoint Nate Schmalzried, Jason Frisch, John Markley and Hal Mason to one-year terms each on the Markle Redevelopment Commission.

• They also voted 3-0 to renew the appointment of Jim Madsen to the Zoning Board, a four-year term.

• The county’s 2018 multi-hazard mitigation plan was approved and FEMA Resolution 2018-7 adopting the plan was signed by councilmen.

• Resolution 2018-8, which authorizes Clerk-Treasurer Carolyn Hamilton to transfer $80,539 from the General Fund to the Rainy Day Fund was also unanimously approved. The amount reflects 10 percent of the 2018 general fund budget.

• Councilmen also voted to donate $250 to the Norwell FFA chapter to help sponsor the club’s “Rural Safety – Smart Choices for Life” family resource and education program.

• Town Marshal John Markley announced that his department has obtained a grant for $1,500 to pay for an in-car video camera for the town’s new patrol car.

The meeting also marked the final time that Councilman Eric Bower will be seated. Bower is moving out of town and has resigned from the council. Humbarger thanked him for his eight years of service.

“It’s a valuable thing to be able to serve in that manner,” he told Bower. “We appreciate all the time you’ve given to the council and to the town.”

The council will likely appoint a replacement for him at the January meeting, which is set for Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Markle Volunteer Fire Department.