John Bell, president of the Redevelopment Commission and Andy Seger, president of the Economic Development Commission appeared before the Jasper City Council meeting Wednesday night and asked for $150,000 to fund phase one of the courthouse redevelopment project in downtown Jasper.
Bell and Seger, who is also a member of the RDC, told the council that they have taken a methodical approach for choosing a developer for the project and have whittled the list down from 12 companies. Two leading companies were left, and Seger said that the board looked at the final two and visited both companies and projects they’ve worked on.
Seger said that the decision has been made between the two, but won’t be made public until the next Redevelopment Commission meeting in December due to “process reasons.”
The selection committee tasked with making the choice included Chad Hurm, Darla Blazey, Renee Kabrick, Mayor Seitz, Earl Schmitt, Ann Knies, Rachel Siebert, Andy Seger and John Bell.
Bell says that the final two candidates submitted quotes to do the project within the range of $150,000.00. He says that the phase one will take four to six months to complete. They were hoping to start the design process right after the first of the year, with the beginning of construction right after Strassenfest in 2016. But the two merchants on the selection committee told them that the last few months of the year are the most important to the downtown merchants, so Seger stated that the beginning of construction on the project would probably be put off until January of 2017.
Phase one includes schematic drawings, boundaries, topographic survey, merchant and town hall meetings to seek input on the design, utility assessment, preliminary design, final schematic design, soil assessment and finally, detailed estimate of the total cost of the project.
Bell says that number could be in the $4 million range. The council approved unanimously allocating funds to the project not to exceed $150,000.00, but the transfer of funds cannot be done until a public notice is given.
Bell and the council agreed to meet in a joint session on December 11 at 8 am to facilitate making the announcement on the developer and having the funds allocated before the end of the year. The state of Indiana mandates all appropriations be accomplished by December 16, 2015.
Mayor Seitz reported to the council that they have a Redevelopment / Economic Development line item of 2015 funds of around $350 to $450 thousand dollars not currently allocated that could be used for the appropriation.
Bell tells what’s next with the project:
Also in the meeting Wednesday night the council:
- Passed an ordinance amending the manner in which parking ticket fines are charged and collected in Jasper. The current policy requires the Police Department to send out a second notice to the violator, which poses a difficulty, sometimes, in finding the violator. The recommendation is to make the parking ordinance language to allow for 21 days to pay the $10.00 violation fee, then after 21 days a $30.00 fine would be imposed, until the parking ticket is filed in court with a $50.00 court fee plus costs. There would be no changes in the fees, just in the procedures. The ordinance was passed and will take place on January 1, 2015.
- The council also passed an additional appropriation of $10,000 to the already appropriated $400,000 to assist the Jasper Lofts 2 project. The additional money would raise the score of the project and put it in a much better position of being approved for the federal tax credits to fund the project.
- Utility General Manager Bud Hauersperger was not at the meeting, so USB Chairman Rick Stradtner made the monthly report to the council on their activities from the Monday night meeting.