Brownstown officials may have a tenant for the Ewing Depot.
During a recent meeting, Brownstown Town Councilman Tim Robinson said he may initially coordinate Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University classes in the building at 1200 W. Spring St. as a service to the community and later may run a financial coaching business there.
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For the classes, he said no money would be exchanged between him and the attendees because they pay Ramsey, and he would donate his time to coordinate.
“I was going to use it because it’s a nice size and it’s somewhat available,” Robinson said of the building.
The Jackson County Banner currently leases the building for its newspaper office, but AIM Media Indiana officials recently notified Clerk-Treasurer David Willey that it would not be renewing the lease, which expires Sept. 30. AIM Media is the owner and publisher of both The Jackson County Banner and The Tribune.
Councilwoman Sharon Koch said meanwhile, Robinson could offer his classes in the evenings at the senior citizens center along Main Street. The town owns that building, too, but does not charge rent to the senior citizens group.
“If the senior building opens up and I can have that one night a week at no charge just to offer something to the community, then that would probably just be better,” Robinson said.
Koch said she made calls to see what the monthly rent is for buildings comparable to the depot.
“I feel like the rent amount should be relative if the person is not making any money, just offering a service in the beginning, versus if they are charging,” she said. “If it’s a service offered to our community, I would look at the rent amount being different than I would if the entity is making money. I think (the classes) would be really good for our community.”
Willey said he has not received any calls from interested parties about leasing the depot. If there are no takers between now and Sept. 30, council President Gregg Goshorn said the town could proceed with Robinson’s offer if he still needs the building.
If that’s done, town attorney Travis Thompson reminded Robinson that he couldn’t vote on the matter.
The town also is considering options for the 55-year-old building it owns at 200 W. Walnut St. that formerly housed the town hall and police department and still houses the street department.
On May 18, the town hall and police department opened in their new location at 116 E. Cross St., which previously was the newspaper office. It was renovated to make it safer, secure and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
In the fall of 2018, the newspaper office and Brownstown Chamber of Commerce moved to the depot building, which the town took ownership of from Darlene Butt at the beginning of that year.
The chamber merged with Brownstown/Ewing Main Street in 2019, but the newspaper office remained in the building.
CSX Railroad had given the building to the town, which in turn gave it to Brownstown/Ewing Main Street after that organization was established in 2010-11.
Thompson told the council its options for the Walnut Street building are soliciting bids, putting it up for auction or obtaining a real estate broker. The bid process would require two appraisals, and Koch said the town already had one done about a year ago.
Thompson said once the council decides how it wants to disclose the property, he could author a resolution for them to consider for approval.