Library board warms to Tell Street development plans

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - Tell City-Perry County Library board members warmed up to the idea of a professional building and storage-facility complex after a presentation April 2 led by Chris Goffinet and Calvin Cash.

At last month's meeting, board members raised concerns about a proposed project east of the library. They opposed Progressive Investment Co.'s proposal to build self-storage units, saying they were worried about trash, rodents and detracting from the library's look. However, members felt professional buildings would be fine.

Goffinet, who represents Progressive Investment, and Cash of the engineering firm Cash-Wagner brought pictures and plans on what the proposed area would look like. "The proposed owner of the property wanted us to come talk to you and show what is being proposed because we all know the connotations of what storage buildings entail," Goffinet stated, saying Progressive wanted members to see the proposal before making their final decision to support or oppose the project.

Cash said the project would include storage facilities built between two professional buildings. Four split-face-brick storage units are proposed with a paved lot, not gravel. He also said landscaping would be placed around the storage units and a security gate with keyless entry would be added to keep non-renters from accessing the units. If added security is needed, cameras may be placed in the future.

There were four points Progressive wanted them to emphasize, Goffinet told members. "One, it's not going to be gravel and no chain-link fence like we're all picturing, which is what I did when they called to have me represent them," he said. They also wanted to point out that the buildings would be split-face brick and only two out of the five acres being purchased would be used for storage, leaving the rest for professional buildings. "They're not going to put a law office next to a storage building that looks bad."

Board member Patsy Alvey asked if the professional building would be built at the same time. No, Cash answered, but if someone needed a building, they'd build them faster. "They'd much rather build professional buildings because of more income but they're not going to build until they get tenants."

Cash added that if this building project doesn't go through, Adam Ramsey, who owns the land Progressive is eyeing, has paved the way for possible apartments on the land instead.

"How assured can we be that the two business establishments will be built?" asked member Carroll Goffinet. From a financial standpoint, they're not going to buy five acres and only develop half of it, Cash responded.

Chris Goffinet said there is nothing in writing that required them to have anything built in a certain time frame. Alvey inquired if there was anything stopping them from making the entire property storage. Not now, but they expect the Tell City Planning Commission to restrict the company to only six storage buildings, he responded.

Carroll Goffinet said the units in Jasper that are owned by the same company look nice and are well maintained. "I'm not against it as much as I was before," Colleen Smith added. "It looks better than expected."

Several members pondered if the commission could set in stone what they can or can't build, wondering if Progressive could later decide to build a gas station, for example, instead of what's been proposed.

"All I would do would be to urge the planning commission to be careful in what they specify as guidelines that must be kept and met by these people," Goffinet said. "If they keep them strict enough and limit what they can do then we can see it as a possibly good thing. They have to approach it carefully"

In legislative news, Library Director Larry Oathout said the library will lose $46,036, about 3.7 percent of the library's budget, by 2010 because of the 1, 2 and 3 percent caps on property tax. A chart he displayed chart only shows what the library loses from property tax, he told members, it does not take into account what they might be from income tax. Cannelton Public Library will lose $1,274 by 2010 and some larger libraries, like Gary Public Library, will lose close to 50 percent of their budgets.

"We also are probably going to get more oversight on the budget," Oathout continued, it will go to the Perry County Council for review if the budget exceeds growth quote, which is factored in every year.

In other news, Oathout and Debbie Seibert, systems administrator, went to an Evergreen organization meeting in Plainfield for library management and systems employees. He said while several questions remain, Evergreen does look like a viable option for the library's next integrated system.

Winners of an Adult Reading Contest were Richard Jackson, Sue Stuffel, Leona Staples, Marguerite Herald and Jewel Harding.

Jackson received a Capers certificate and a book for being the grand-prize winner.