Building owner gives town council update on repairs




That’s all the Crothersville Town Council is asking of a downtown building owner in his efforts to restore the only historic building that remains on the east side of Armstrong Street or U.S. 31.

During a meeting in August, Hubert Ashley Jr. told the five council members he would make the Ashley Foundry building at 125 S. Armstrong St. appealing to passersby.

In July, the town had two buildings next to his business torn down and the rubble cleared, leaving the north side of Ashley’s property exposed. That shows brick that’s partially covered, a red-painted wall and a raised roof.

Ashley told the council during this month’s meeting that his son, Bobby, removed half of the roof, and the materials are there to redo it.

Work hasn’t gone as fast as planned because Ashley said a family member has had some health issues.

"I know it looked like we didn’t do anything for the first two months. We’ll just get it done as soon as we can," Ashley told the council.

"It is looking better," Councilman Chad Wilson said.

"Just keep chugging along," council President Danieta Foster said. "As long as we keep seeing improvement, we’ll work with you on the timeline."

During the August council meeting, town attorney Jeff Lorenzo suggested the town form a committee to look at what has been done to the property, make a list of demands for Ashley to meet and have him sign it.

Councilman Lenvel "Butch" Robinson compiled the list and gave it to Lorenzo to put in letter form and mail to Ashley. Ashley was given 90 days to make the improvements.

At the recent meeting, Robinson made a motion to give Ashley 60 days and see what progress has been made. The council hopes to see most, if not all, of the work completed by the beginning of December.

That motion was seconded and unanimously passed.

Robinson said if the improvements aren’t made, there will be a $35,000 lien against Ashley’s property. That was the cost for Albertson Excavating of Scottsburg to tear down the buildings at 117 and 119 S. Armstrong St.

In June, the town agreed to purchase the properties from Ashley for $1. After meeting to discuss what would be taken down, however, there was miscommunication on what portion Ashley wanted to keep.

During a council meeting July 2, the members rescinded their vote and discussed a new plan with the Ashleys.

The council told the Ashleys they were going to remove the unsafe portion of the buildings at 117 and 119 S. Armstrong St. Then after those come down, the town and the Ashleys would meet to form a list of repairs that would need to be made to the foundry building.

If the Ashleys would make the repairs or show that they are making reasonable attempts to make the repairs, the town would purchase the property where the buildings have been removed for $1, and the town would be responsible for the $35,000.

If the town winds up purchasing the properties where the buildings were demolished, it will discuss options of what to place there. A public area, a parking lot and several other things have been discussed by people in town.

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