Last Updated on May 4, 2016 by cassnetwork
We’ve invited Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell to share updates from the city in a monthly column.
As the month of May dawns, there are some encouraging signs happening in our city.
One of those signs happened last Saturday at the annual “Green and Clean Day” sponsored by Logan’s Landing Association. Last year, 157 volunteers turned out on a near perfect day to help clean up downtown. This year, on a perfectly wet, lousy day, there were 211 volunteers who took time out of their weekend to make our city look like it had just experienced a spring cleaning. Parking lots were swept. Curbs were cleaned. Sidewalks were cleared of broken glass.
For the first time, the city provided three large dumpsters for Logansport residents who wanted to participate with their own properties. We were overwhelmed to see the dumpsters full almost before Green and Clean started. We’re planning to offer more free dumpsters on an ongoing basis for local residents to make their properties look better.
A major economic announcement happened in the past month. A Raymond, formerly known as Elco Industries, sought more than $4 million in tax abatement for an expansion that will make it more competitive. If you’ve driven by the A Raymond and seen the international flags out front, you realize that their competition isn’t just in other Indiana cities, it’s across oceans and continental divides. We expect other local companies to follow that lead this year as interest rates and oil prices continue to be at or near historic lows.
Our efforts to redevelop the Logansport Mall and the Logan Square building continue, and the continued demand for quality housing is becoming increasingly more common. Cass-Logansport Economic Development Organization President Bill Cuppy and I are working on numerous projects and I have kept Council President Teresa Popejoy and Redevelopment Commissioner Scott Kraud in the loop so that we have an ongoing dialogue about what is happening in the community. That dialogue also has included Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors.
In the past month, one Logansport business owner sent a message to me on Facebook. That owner let me know that after many years of owning a business, an electric bill from LMU finally arrived that showed a remarkable drop. That kind of cut that has been made possible with the closing of the generating plant is reducing fixed costs of overhead and is helping many businesses. Through the efforts of the city and LMU, we are close to a new purchased power agreement which should further lower our rates.
If you have not been downtown in recent days, you may not know that the former J. Adkins building on Broadway between Pearl and Fifth has been sold. Steve Schwering, a Logansport native and long-time local businessman, has purchased the building to expand is real estate office. This building has been vacant for years, but will fill in another gap in our downtown.
Several potential infrastructure projects are being considered because of the legislature’s recent actions and a decision by state officials to release $1.06 million to Logansport. Seventy-five percent of that funding must be spent on infrastructure. The remaining money will be deposited in our Rainy Day Fund. This is important funding because it allows us to use this one-time appropriation as matching money for other state programs – one of which will match local dollars by a 4-1 ratio. Improvements to Michigan Avenue, High Street and Burlington Avenue are being considered.
Our Blight Elimination Program is back on schedule and is on track to be completed on time. Once funding from the sale of those properties is received, city officials will be able to spend more money on other blighted properties.
At no cost to taxpayers, I have joined Peru Mayor Gabriel Greer and Wabash Mayor Scott Long in asking the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to designate the Eel as an Indiana Scenic River. News of this request was reported in the Washington Times and the San Francisco Chronicle in addition to newspapers in Virginia and Texas. Once the 110-mile river is designated, it will be just the fourth Indiana stream to receive the designation. We’re hopeful it can boost recreation and festival attendance not only in Logansport, but in places like Wabash, Peru, Roann and Roanoke.
Our new Historic District Board of Review hit the ground running. Todd Zeiger, the regional representative from Indiana Landmarks, met with the board. We are working with members to foster more investment and appreciation of our historic neighborhoods and Logansport’s three districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
Finally, many members of our city administration have gone above and beyond on your behalf. My administrative assistant, Marla Evanich, spearheaded the distribution of more than 550 trees as part of Earth Day Week. Parks Administrator Rich Brewer, Assistant Police Chief Rob Smith and Code Enforcement Officer Johnny Quinones have volunteered their evenings and weekends to ensure that our Logansport Community Baseball League is off to a fast start this year.
Our Web site is still being renovated, but if you have an idea, a complaint or something you think we should know, don’t hesitate to let us now by calling 753-2551 or e-mailing me at email@example.com.