Brownstown plans to expand proposed Heritage Park


Brownstown Town Council members have decided to move forward with plans to add land to the proposed Heritage Park.

The decision to purchase two additional properties just west of the proposed 0.41-acre park at 121 E. Walnut St. was discussed in the past.

The town recently obtained an appraisal of the two properties, owned by Carken Properties of Seymour, and the appraisal came back at $20,000 for each lot.

Town attorney Rodney Farrow told council members Monday they needed to obtain a second appraisal before proceeding with the purchase and could then offer the property owner the average of the two.

The town already has an option to purchase the two properties for $40,000, and that option is good until Oct. 31, council President John Nolting said. Farrow said the second appraisal was necessary to make the purchase legal.

The town is trying to obtain a $400,000 grant to fund construction of the park, including an outdoor stage for events and plenty of green space. Additional projects could be funded by other grants in the future, town officials said.

A local contractor is working to provide the town with cost estimates for the project to be submitted as part of the grant application. The contractor is basing those estimates on a couple of drawings made for free for the town by architects from DLZ of South Bend. Those renderings include an open-air, permanent concrete and brick stage and green space.

Councilor C.J. Foster said he was in favor of purchasing the property.

He said the drawings he has seen of the park are more than he could have imagined.

“I think we would be stupid not to swallow it up,” Foster said of buying the properties, “… because if we can get that grant, and it can look like those drawings, that’s outstanding.”

After Monday’s meeting, Foster and other council members said they are leaning toward a plan that would have the stage located at the rear of the property, facing Walnut Street and the courthouse.

Nolting said he’s also in favor of purchasing the properties. He is a member of the committee put together to establish the park.

“I’m just afraid if we don’t buy it, that down the road several years from now, we’ll think, why in the world didn’t we buy it,” Nolting said.

Councilor Bill Sweeney agreed.

“I really think it’s worth more to the town than anyone else,” he said.

Nolting said a public hearing will be conducted at noon Friday at town hall as part of the grant application process. Council members hope the public will attend to learn more about the project and to support it.

The town already has raised nearly $20,000 in donations for the park.

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