Town council approves funding to demo two houses

CROTHERSVILLE — Two neglected vacant properties in Crothersville will be demolished.

A lengthy process for the town’s unsafe building and hearing board came to an end during a town council meeting earlier this month when approval was given for a spending request.

The council OK’d the $21,000 request — more than $16,000 coming from the town’s American Rescue Plan Act funds and the remainder coming from the town’s unsafe building fund. That came on a 3-0 vote with Vice President Terry Richey and Councilwoman Jerilyn Masters absent.

That money will be used to tear down homes at 301 E. Main St. and 105 Marshall Drive, said Katie Masters, a member of the unsafe building and hearing board.

Fellow board member and council President Jason Hillenburg said the cost to demolish the Main Street home is higher due to the extra time it will take to tear down the two-story part of the structure that’s part of the oldest home in Crothersville.

“I’ve had discussion with the company that bid on this about the fact that the old Hamacher home, the logs are underneath that exterior structure, and they are going to take great care to remove those as gently as possible, and there will be people onsite to make sure that that’s done,” he said. “Those that are salvageable will be kept. Those that aren’t will be disposed of.”

Councilman Chad Wilson asked if the logs would be in the town’s possession. Town attorney Matt Lorenzo said technically, those will be the property of the homeowner, which is listed on the Jackson County GIS map as Mary K. Kelly.

“We discussed in the unsafe building committee meeting that if she wanted to keep them for whatever reason that we could negotiate with the lien going against the property to demo the structure as some payment for the logs,” Hillenburg said.

When the two properties were discussed at a council meeting in early 2021, Hillenburg said there were several issues with the Main Street home. At the time, he said no rehabilitation or structural integrity could be gained, and the stench around the property was awful. Plus, there was water in the basement, walls falling in and windows broken.

The home on Marshall Drive was in worse shape, he said. It’s owned by Roscoe and Kayla Peacock, and Hillenburg said they had been contacted multiple times by the town’s attorney and sent letters for court orders but had not appeared.

During that 2021 meeting, the council gave the unsafe building committee approval to proceed with taking action on the two homes. Lorenzo told members at the time that it has to move for the court to approve demolition before that can actually happen.

Once the court granted approval, the unsafe building and hearing board could ask the council for money to cover demolition, and then a lien would be placed on each property for that amount.

During the recent meeting, Curt Kovener made the council aware of the Marshall Drive home being listed on the county commissioners’ certificate sale. If someone buys it and tears it down, the town wouldn’t have that expense.

This home at 105 Marshall Drive, Crothersville, is set to be demolished.

Zach Spicer | The Tribune