Town makes offer on Main Street home


CROTHERSVILLE — The appraisals are in.

A week ahead of Wednesday’s court date on the property at 301 E. Main St., Crothersville, the numbers were announced during a special meeting of the Crothersville Town Council.

John Dickerson Appraisal Services of Scottsburg submitted $31,500, while Sexton Real Estate & Appraisal Service of Scottsburg came in at $31,250.

Clerk-Treasurer Danieta Foster said law requires the town to obtain two appraisals to buy property, and it can’t offer any more than the average of the appraisals. The average of the two appraisals for the 0.35-acre property owned by Mary Kelly is $31,375.

Foster said the council previously approved using $21,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to put toward tearing down neglected properties in town.

Based on that, Councilman Jamy Greathouse made a motion to make an offer of $10,000 on the property and negotiate up to $15,000. Chad Wilson seconded, and it passed 3-0 with Jerilyn Masters absent. Council President Jason Hillenburg attended via phone, so he couldn’t vote since it involved money.

Town attorney Matt Lorenzo said earlier Wednesday, he received a letter from Kelly stating she had never heard anything from the town, it was getting close to the next court hearing and she has doctor’s appointments coming up, so the matter couldn’t be continued. She requested a reply by mail letting her know what the town decides.

Only a Hanover home address was listed, no phone number, but Foster said she had her number and had tried to call it but didn’t get an answer.

Kelly attended the July 5 council meeting and said the property has been for sale for several years, and no one has lived in the home in recent years. She also said she is dying of cancer and doesn’t know how much longer she will live, so she wants to sell the home.

The council told her the town would pay for two appraisals and come up with an offer for the property before the July 19 court hearing, but that had to be continued so two appraisals could be obtained.

The special meeting was called Wednesday so the council could announce the appraisals and make an offer since the next court hearing is before the next regular monthly council meeting.

Foster said Kelly had posted the property for sale online for a while at $54,000, and it had been assessed for $89,000. Those numbers are well higher than the average of the two assessments the town received.

The town learned it would cost $18,000 to get the historic cabin out of the two-story portion of the home. The cabin was owned by John Hamacher, who surveyed and founded the town in 1858, making it the oldest structure in Crothersville. The town’s safety board has been going through the legal process to tear down the portion of the house on each side of the cabin and preserve the logs.

Greathouse said he came up with an offer of $13,375, while Richey and Foster both suggested 15,000.

“My opinion is we tell her $15,000. If she doesn’t accept that, she either tears it down or we tear it down, and if we tear it down, she’s going to owe us whatever that cost is,” Foster said. “It will be liened if we have to tear it down.”

Hillenburg said he feels the property is worth less than half of what it was appraised for, so he agreed with the $15,000 offer.

Trees have grown to the point of covering up the front of the home, and the back is grown up, too. Hillenburg said the original four-wall cabin structure is “solid as a rock,” but the drop ceiling in the second-story portion has fallen on the floor.

Greathouse asked Lorenzo about making a starting offer of $10,000 and maxing it out at $15,000, and he said that was OK, so the council moved forward with that plan.

If the town takes possession of the property, it has discussed tearing down both sides of the home, taking the cabin out and making it a historical site and filling in the basement.

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