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2012: The year in review

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By VINCE LUECKE
Editor

Annexation tops TC comprehensive plan recommendations

TELL CITY – Studying the best way to annex areas into the city, constructing a fire department substation, developing the Seventh Street corridor and hiring a city planner led the recommendations made in a new Tell City comprehensive plan approved by the city council in 2012.

The recommendations published in November by The News aren’t binding but provide a multi-year road map for setting priorities and guiding work on zoning, downtown development and improving public services.

The city obtained a state grant to fund the creation of a new comprehensive plan, a process that hadn’t taken place for two decades.

The comprehensive plan’s lead priority is an annexation study that would chart how city leaders might best bring new areas into the community, thereby increasing the city’s population.

The comprehensive plan recommends the city build a fire-department substation that would serve the city and be located on the northern or eastern portions of the city to provide quicker response times. The former National Guard armory, now owned by the city and already used by the fire department for some training exercises, is identified as a possible location.

Priority 2 under the comprehensive plan is a new commercial developer or city planner who would be hired by the city to help attract commercial development. The Perry County Development Corp. and Tell City Economic Development Commission are already active in industrial development but the study pointed to a need for commercial-development recruitment.

Other comprehensive-plan recommendations were:
• A new visitors center, nearing completion on Seventh Street.
• A condominium-apartment complex and senior center.
• A new hotel for the city’s downtown.
• A downtown grocery or convenience store.
• Encouraging downtown restaurants to offer outdoor seating areas.
• A facade-improvement program that would provide incentives and possible financial assistance to owners of businesses who want to make exterior repairs and upgrades.
• Upgrades to recreational and sports offerings at Hagedorn Park.
• Added greenways and bike facilities.
• Exploring a new public golf course that could be located on the city’s former landfill between Old Indiana 37 and Spring Road.

Hospital secures financing for new facility

PERRY COUNTY – County commissioners and council members gave their stamps of approval last year to a financing agreement that will permit construction of a new hospital to begin in 2013.

The hospital secured $40 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture rural-development bonds to finance the construction. County leaders gave their approval to a financing plan that provides a lock backing of the bond issue, including use of property taxes if needed.

Hospital leaders and trustees have pointed out that the hospital has not required local funds in decades. Also a full year of bond payments will be set aside in an escrow account for the facility, which will be located along Indiana 237.

The hospital purchased the land several years ago but its efforts to finance the project on its own were impacted negatively by the recession and other world events, including the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. That natural disaster forced insurance companies to shy away from investing in large projects.

Silvesternacht joins list of local festivals

TELL CITY – In a story that culminated just as the clock ticked toward 2013, the city of Tell City kicked off a New Year’s Eve tradition.

A large apple, symbolic of Tell City’s Swiss heritage, was erected in City Hall Park in time for Schweizer Fest. In step with New York City’s Times Square celebration, the apple dropped at midnight. About 1,000 people filled the park in cold, damp conditions. Other Silvesternacht activities were held at Tell City High School.

Six feet tall and equally wide, the aluminum apple-shaped design is a project of the Perry County Quality of Life Committee, which operates under the auspices of the Perry County Development Corp.

Built by Husk Signs at no cost to the city, the project was supported financially by German American, Waupaca Foundry and the Tell City Electric Department.

The apple was constructed using 276 linear feet of aluminum tube. Also used was approximately 40 square feet of aluminum sheet as well as acrylic sheeting and polycarbonate. The apple comes ready to shine with 524 red light-emitting diodes.

Election results favor Democrats

PERRY COUNTY – Local office holders were sworn in Wednesday morning after being elected in November.

Dianne Rudolph, a Democrat, won a seat on the county council. Incumbent Democrats Ron Crawford and Steve Goodson won new terms.

Bill Amos was re-elected to a second term and Randy Kleaving succeeded Jody Fortwendel on the county’s board of commissioners.

Zach DeSpain won his race for county surveyor.

Randy Cole and Larry Kleeman won seats on the Tell City-Troy Township School Board.

Bill Garrett and Cory Faulkenberg were elected to the Cannelton School Board and Tim Edwards and Kevin Etienne were returned to new terms on the Perry Central School Board.

There are no scheduled local elections for 2013.

Cole purchases former junior high school

PERRY COUNTY – Elected to the school board in November, Randy Cole purchased the former Tell City Junior High School. A public auction in September saw the sale of the building and contents.

Cole’s successful bid was $85,500.

The school was closed more than two years ago with junior-high students split between William Tell Elementary and Tell City High schools.

Cole has said he is open to suggestions as far as what the former school could be used for.