Local News

Rose-Hulman students submit trail plan for city


City officials now have a plan for a future build-out of Shelbyville's bike-pedestrian trail, thanks to group of civil engineering students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.


The four students presented their concept using a slideshow at the Board of Works meeting on Tuesday in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.


City Engineer Matt House said the plan includes extension of the trail from Amos Road, through a parcel of land owned by the city north of State Road 44, then bridging the Little Blue River and on into the south portion of Blue River Memorial Park.


Following the Board of Works meeting, House said the idea is a work in progress.


“It's not in our immediate plans to do this, and we have to connect a couple of other pieces first. But our initial reaction is, we think it's a great idea and we'd like to do it at some point. The big thing is that bridge they're proposing is a lot smaller than the one we were assuming we would need. That bridge of their's is at $200,000, and the bigger bridges, if you completely get out of the floodplain, are 200 feet versus 100 feet, and those are $600,000 to $800,000,” he said.


The plan itself, however, didn't cost the city anything except mileage reimbursement for the students; Rose-Hulman approached the city about having the students do a project, House said.


Board of Works members and other city officials applauded the students' presentation. House said he hopes to have the budget to implement the plan in a couple of years.


In other matters, the board dismissed a nuisance property complaint about 1009 S. Tompkins St. after the owner cleaned up the yard.


For another nuisance property case, the board ordered that the city clean up 1029 S. Tompkins St. and bill the owner.


And the board directed that the owner of 407 Eberhart Dr. appear in 2 weeks to address the condition of her property.


In two dog bite cases, the Board of Works released a dog owned by Nathan Ridge after he raised the height of a fence in his yard. The board gave him 2 weeks to have his dog vaccinated for rabies.


And the owner of a dog at 911 Hale Road, Lot 75, in the Westar mobile home park will send the dog to live with friends in Waldron. Westar management banned the dog from the park.


The board also approved street closings for the St. Joseph Catholic Church festival on May 9–11.

Fee hike approved for property tax sales


Property owners will have to pay more if their real estate is sold to pay delinquent taxes.


The Shelby County Commissioners have approved a proposal by SRI Inc. of Indianapolis to boost the cost of each tax sale.


Raising the price of the sale is part of the company's new contract with the county.


Auditor Amy Glackman presented the contract to the commissioners for approval at their meeting on Monday.


“They did an addendum to their agreement. They're raising their fee from $75 per parcel to $100 a parcel. The county never has to pay for this; this all goes back on the tax bills, put it on the tax bills. So whoever buys the property, they pay that fee, they pay it all up, and then, if the homeowner redeems it, then they pay it,” she said.


If home or commercial property owners fall behind on their property taxes, county government has the authority to seize the property, sell it at auction and use the proceeds to recover the taxes owed.


SRI Inc. handles delinquent property tax sales for about 90 percent of the counties in Indiana, according to the company's website.


The commissioners approved the new contract unanimously, 3-0.


In other matters, Kem Anderson, superintendent of the County Highway Department, reported to the commissioners that crews have paved 8 miles of road this spring, despite the rains.


That's 3 miles ahead of schedule, he told the board.

First Merchants jumps to #2 on Forbes list of top U.S. banks in 2019

Forbes has released its 2019 list of “America’s Best Banks,” and for the second straight year, one of Indiana’s legacy financial institutions sits near the top.  First Merchants Bank, the largest financial services holding company in Central Indiana and the second largest in the state, was ranked by Forbes as the country’s second best bank.


“We are extremely proud of this achievement as it speaks to the financial strength of First Merchants clients and future viability of the communities we serve,” said First Merchants CEO Michael C. Rechin.  “We are successful when they are successful, and every single one of our 1,700 employees plays a key role in making that happen.  They deserve all of the credit.”


First Merchants, ranked fourth in 2018 by Forbes grading of the country’s 100 best banks, once again ranks ahead of peers like JP Morgan Chase, Fifth Third Bancorp and Citigroup.


Forbes ranked banks based on 10 metrics related to growth, profitability, capital adequacy and asset quality.  Metrics include return on average tangible equity, return on average assets, net interest margin, efficiency ratio and net charge-offs as a percent of total loans.


On January 31, 2019, First Merchants Corporation reported record net income for 2018 totaling $159.1 million, compared to $96.1 million in 2017.  2018 earnings per share was $3.22, a record level as the company celebrated the Corporation’s 125th anniversary.


Michael C. Rechin, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Our teammates connect with the needs of the marketplace and our communities while our execution produces results and efficiency.  We look forward to 2019 and extending our franchise into Michigan through our merger with Monroe Bank and Trust.”    

Governor orders flags to half-staff to honor U.S. Senator Richard Lugar

Governor Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags across the state to be flown at half-staff to honor former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, who passed away early today.


Flags should be flown at half-staff from now until sunset on the day of his funeral, which has not yet been announced.


Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff as well to honor former U.S. Sen. Lugar.


Governor Eric J. Holcomb offered the following after the passing of former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar:


“The world weeps alongside Indiana after just learning we lost one of our best, ever.

“As an always faithful servant to the highest ideals in every walk of his incredible life, Richard Lugar ran the family farm, charted a new innovative course for Indiana’s capital city, and devoted a record six terms as a U.S. Senator to making the world a more prosperous and peaceful place.

 “He was an officer and gentleman, father and faith leader, a Mayor and Senator, a diplomat and legendary role model to millions.

“Janet and I are keeping Mrs. Lugar and their wonderful family in our prayers and ask all those touched by his service to join us.”



Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch offered the following after the passing of former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar:


"Senator Lugar was an institution, a policymaker and true advocate for the state of Indiana. His work in Congress remains unparalleled. 

His political power influenced those around him, including myself. I first was inspired to enter politics in 1982, when I worked for him on his campaign trail. I know countless individuals who are in the leadership positions they are today, because of Senator Lugar. 

I join the country in mourning the incredible loss we have incurred, along with his family. Indiana would not be the state it is without him, and we are forever in his debt."




U.S. Senator Mike Braun released the following statement following the news of the passing of U.S. Senator Dick Lugar:


“Senator Richard Lugar is a towering figure in Hoosier history and one of the greatest statesmen ever to serve in the U.S. Senate.  As our longest serving Senator, he worked tirelessly with leaders across the globe to better the state and the country he loved. Maureen and I are praying for the Lugar family in this difficult time.”



Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN), released the following statement regarding the death of former Indiana Senator, Richard Lugar:


“Dick Lugar is a giant in the hearts and minds of Hoosiers and all who served with him during his career in public service and record-setting tenure in the Senate.  His selfless service and tireless advocacy on behalf of the state and nation we both love inspired many to follow his footsteps into public service.  I had the privilege to spend a fair amount of time with him since being elected to Congress and will treasure the counsel and encouragement he provided.  The world is a better place because of Sen. Lugar and he will be missed immensely.  Amanda and I send our prayers and condolences to the Lugar family, and all those who are mourning his loss.”





Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer released the following statement:
"Today as Hoosiers and Americans, we mourn the loss of Richard Lugar, the ultimate statesman who leaves an immeasurable impact on the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, our nation and our globe.

"Lugar was a Hoosier who dedicated his life to making the world a better a place, starting in his own hometown by ushering in a new era of modern government for Indianapolis. He brought new life to Indiana's capital city, with a visionary approach that catalyzed new growth and opportunity for the region. 

"But Richard Lugar's impact is felt by all Americans and all people who are safe today because of his commitment to security and nuclear disarmament during the Cold War. As a U.S. Senator, Richard Lugar reduced the threat of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union through the Nunn-Lugar Act. His leadership in foreign relations was unparalleled.

"Serving Hoosiers for nearly four decades -- the longest serving U.S. Senator in Indiana's history -- when Richard Lugar spoke, you listened. His words carried immense weight and were always backed with knowledge and insight.

"Outside the Senate, Richard Lugar is also responsible for inspiring generations of Hoosier and American leaders who follow him. In particular, his leadership in helping get more women involved in public service through the Richard G. Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series is a legacy that will continue here in Indiana as more than 2,000 women have now completed the program.

"Through it all, Richard Lugar led with a humble spirit that represented our state and our people with honor. He was a farmer, a mayor, a senator, a visionary, a leader, but most importantly, a Hoosier. We express our deepest condolences to Char and his family, and we thank them for sharing Richard Lugar with the world."

Developers detail elements of downtown makeover


On May 6, the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission and the City Council are due to take up Mayor Tom DeBaun's $22.4 million proposal to revitalize the city's downtown.


At a special meeting of the commission Wednesday morning in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., the mayor described what he'll be asking for.


“So basically, so what will happen Monday is that we will make a formal presentation, accept public comment at that time, and have that opportunity as well. The presentation will be more involved, more in depth, flashier, if you will, for that meeting. The only thing we'll be asking for is the approval of the Redevelopment Commission to move forward with further budget development,” DeBaun said.


The mayor noted that the Shelbyville Common Council has already allocated money in the city budget from the racino fund, and he'll be asking for the OK to spend those funds for the preliminary design.


Once that design is done, they'll come back to the commission and council with a budget for approval.


As of now, the city's contribution, as stated in the developers' written proposal, stands at $22,360,000.


That's what the three private developers have asked the city to put in for the project.


The developers listed in the proposal include GM Development Companies LLC, in Springport, Indiana; Bill Poland and Ron Kelsey, co-owners of Genesis Property Development Inc. of Shelbyville; and Ratio Architects of Indianapolis.


At the special Redevelopment Commission meeting Wednesday, commission members got a chance to hear from the developers about the plan which has three parts:


  • 13 executive homes on the old Major Hospital site on West Washington Street and a townhome building across the street from that location

  • Renovation of the Methodist Building on the Public Square into upscale apartments in the upper floors with retail on the ground floor

  • Complete redesign of the Public Square itself to include open plaza areas in the four corners and rehabilitation of the nearby streets entering the Square


The developers also plan to purchase the Bradley Hall building next to the Methodist Building and develop retail space there on the Public Square side.


To city's contribution of $22.4 million would be used for:


  • Infrastructure improvements at the Major Hospital site and demolition of an existing building owned by Major Health Partners to make way for the proposed townhomes;

  • A parking garage, with lower, main and second floor levels, to go in behind the Bradley Hall and Methodist buildings

  • Extensive reconstruction of the streets and sidewalks in and around the Public Square


Purchase price of the MHP building for the townhome proposal is not included, according to the written plan submitted by the developers.


Ron Kelsay of Genesis Property Group is also co-owner of the Riverfront Taproom brewpub in Shelbyville.


He told the Redevelopment Commission the projects should lead to other development downtown.


As we all know, there's a lot of empty, very nice, with a lot of character and architecture, buildings but they're largely empty. I spoke to one building owner who's an out-of-town investor who bought the Knights of Pythias building for the same reason we bought the Methodist – they'd like to redevelop it. But, you know, they're on hold because you don't want to redevelop something in a, you know, dead-end area,” Kelsay said.


As for a timeline, the developers described their proposal as a “phased project” with the parking garage and Hamilton-Major housing development to happen first, followed by the street and sidewalk reconstruction of the Square starting in June 2020 to July 2021.


Rerouting traffic will be critical, they said, to reduce the impact on existing businesses and residents.


The Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission and Common Council are due to meet and take public comment on the proposals starting at 6 p.m. on May 6 in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.


A copy of the written proposal is available in City Hall for the public to review.

Triton Central schools hit by ransomware attack; no confidential student data breached

A ransomware attack of an area school system’s network did not result in a breach of student data.


Northwestern Consolidated Schools Superintendent Chris Hoke issued a release following the attack which happened Sunday night.  It resulted in a loss of computer operations at the Triton Central schools on Monday.  However, Hoke says the school system began housing confidential student data on secure offsite servers approximately three years ago.  The breach only impacted the locally managed and maintained servers.


Campus computer operations and the local network were restored.


Anyone with questions or concerns can contact the superintendent’s office.


City Council to review new fire code


A new Fire Prevention Ordinance is headed to the Shelbyville Common Council following approval by the council's Ordinance Committee.
Fire Chief Tony Logan submitted the proposal to the Ordinance Committee Tuesday afternoon.


Committee members Councilwoman Joanne Bowen (D-1st Ward) and Councilman Jeff Wright (D-5th Ward), approved sending the 20-page document on to the full City Council.


The city has a Fire Prevention Ordinance now. Following the meeting, Logan said the proposed ordinance expands some of the regulations based on recommendations by the state fire marshal.


“One is clarifying pyrotechnics, helps clarify that towards the end. One is clarifying and assisting with the Building and Planning division as far as unsafe buildings. There's several others in the front of that document that just helps clarify inspections and authority and that kind of stuff in the city of Shelbyville,” Logan said.


Under pyrotechnics, the proposed ordinance establishes specific days and hours during which personal fireworks may be set off in the city, specifically around the 4th of July and New Year's Eve.


Section 9 of the proposal outlines circumstances that would create an “imminent danger” and allows the fire chief, or someone designated by the chief, to issue an unsafe building order.


No date was set for the full City Council to receive the proposed Fire Prevention Ordinance for review.


The document is available for public inspection in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St.

Downtown closures OK'd for First Friday


The first outdoor First Friday of 2019 is slated for May 3, and city officials are preparing for the popular event.


On Tuesday, the Shelbyville Board of Works approved closing parts of the Public Square downtown to set aside space for vendors and entertainment.


Rachael Ackley, executive director of the Shelby County Tourism & Visitors Bureau, described the setup to the board.


“We would need the interior of the Circle completely closed beginning at noon on May 3, and then on the east side, at the quadrant where Bishopp's is, the quadrant where Brammer & Yeend is, we need the cones up in that area as well. We'll have food vendors there, going in those quadrants,” Ackley said..


Asked by Mayor Tom DeBaun, who chairs the Board of Works, Ackley said she's spoken to most of the businesses and they have no problem with the closures.


Board members asked her about the Dish It Out cook-off event at the Strand Theatre last Saturday, and Ackley said it went very well.


Five high schoolers competed, and Noah Phillips took home the $3,000 scholarship grand prize.


Ackley said Phillips will preparing his winning braised pork tenderloin dish for the Taste of Shelby County festival downtown on June 7.


In other matters, the Board of Works approved a request by the local group, Addicts Lives Matter, to hold an event on June 22 at the West Washington Street Plaza, across from the old Major Hospital site.


Speakers, musicians, and information booths about addiction recovery are planned, starting at 12:30 p.m., right after the Farmers Market which also uses the site.


More information about Addicts Lives Matter is on the group's Facebook page.


And, the Board of Works continued a dog bite case until April 30 following a lengthy hearing Tuesday.


The board wanted more time to evaluate the dog owned by residents at 2201 N. Hampton Blvd.

Developers to give details of $22 million downtown plan


On Wednesday morning, the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission is scheduled to hold a special public meeting on a $22 million plan to remake the city's downtown.


Three developers have proposed the components of the plan.


Greg Martz, of GM Development Companies LLC, in Springport, Indiana; Bill Poland and Ron Kelsey, co-owners of Genesis Property Development Inc. of Shelbyville; and Ratio Architects of Indianapolis are the developers listed in a 26-page written proposal for the project.


The developers have asked the city to chip in $22.4 million for infrastructure and a parking garage.


Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun stated after the regular monthly meeting of the Redevelopment Commission on April 1 that he doesn't think a new property tax will be needed to cover the cost.


“With the refinancing we did with the Knauf TIF bonds, we've freed up an additional $1 million a year now. And so we think we can finance this without using a property tax burden, you know, as an additional rate,” DeBaun said.


The three components of the Shelbyville Downtown Redevelopment Proposal include:


• The Hamilton-Major Subdivision – 13 executive homes built on the old Major Hospital site on West Washington Street;


• Redevelopment of the Methodist Building into housing and commercial retail space;


• Complete rehabilitation and renewal of the Public Square.


Chris King, a senior vice president at Runnebohm Construction Co., has led the effort for the Hamilton-Major Subdivision.


King owns and plans to live in the former Hamilton House right next door once his house is remodeled.


The developers' presentation to the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St. 

Denim Day supports victims of sexual violence


How hard is it to get out of a pair of tight jeans?


In the 1990s, the Supreme Court of Italy overturned a rape conviction based on that question.


The court decided that, because the 18-year-old victim was wearing tight jeans, she must have helped the 45-year-old driving instructor remove them, which implied she gave consent, and the court freed the instructor.


Amber Knopp, community services director of the Shelby County office of Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, said the response started a worldwide movement.


“And so, the women in the Italian Parliament wore jeans to protest that decision, and then that's kind of just been adopted around, different places around the world, that, on that day, that you wear jeans to kind of show your support for survivors, and also bring awareness to, awareness to the myths regarding sexual violence,” Knopp said.


On Wednesday, Turning Point is asking everyone who can to wear jeans to mark Denim Day.


A number of businesses and organizations in Shelbyville are participating, Knopp said, wearing jeans, and stickers and buttons, for the annual event.


Also for Denim Day, Turning Point is inviting the public to attend a ceremony in support of the victims of sexual violence.


The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday in Shelbyville City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., where Mayor Tom DeBaun is scheduled to read a proclamation.

East Washington Street project underway

Shelbville's East Washington St Rehabilitation Project is starting soon between the Public Square and the railroad. 


A barrier wall has been placed down the middle of the street and the first phase of the project will involve work on the north half of it between the Public Square and the four way stop at Pike Street.

There will only be one lane open to traffic and that is eastbound only.


At some point when that section is finished, traffic will be moved to the north side of the street and construction will be done on the south side. 



Traffic will still be restricted to one lane – eastbound only.


This project goes all the way to the railroad, so the construction work will expand farther east at some point in the near future, but should stay with the same traffic pattern.


Westbound traffic will be rerouted starting at Vine Street with the suggested detour being south on Vine to Broadway and then west over to Harrison.


There will be some times where the entire street will be closed to traffic for periods of time, but those have not been determined yet.


This traffic plan may be in effect until the end of the year.

Voting underway Monday for May 7 primary

Absentee voting will begin in the lobby of the Shelby County Courthouse on Monday, April 22, 2019. Voting hours will be Monday through Friday starting April 22 to May 3 during the hours of 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  The courthouse will also be open for voting on Saturday, April 27 and May 4 from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm., and Monday, May 6 from 8:00 am to noon.


Anyone wishing to vote at the courthouse should use the west entrance off the parking lot. Absentee voting will be conducted on the first floor.


April 29 is the deadline, by 11:59 pm, for the Circuit Court Clerk to receive an absentee ballot application from an applicant requesting delivery of an absentee ballot by mail. 


May 6, by noon, is the deadline for the Circuit Court Clerk to receive an absentee ballot application from a voter requesting an absentee traveling board to visit the voter at the voter’s location because of illness or injury of the voter, or because the voter is caring for a confined person at a private residence.


Applications may be submitted to the Circuit Court Clerk in person, by fax, by mail or by e-mail. 


Any questions regarding the Primary Election to be held May 7, the public can call the Voter Registration Office at 317-392-6324.

County enacts hiring freeze as courts face challenges


With a few exceptions, the Shelby County government is under a hiring freeze until the end of the year.


The Shelby County Council has followed the lead of the County Commissioners and voted unanimously in favor of the freeze which expires on Dec. 31.

The freeze comes in the wake of limited revenues and rising costs such as health insurance.


Following the council's meeting Tuesday night, president Tony Titus (R-At Large) said he doesn't think new taxes will be needed.


“Not at this time. I mean, unfortunately it's always an option out there, but we're trying not to do that. We're trying to take care of things without having to do that, but health insurance is a killer. I mean, the public knows that in general, but the county insurance, it's good insurance, but we had a lot of claims in the last 3 or 4 years, of course it raises our premiums up,” Titus said.


Last year, the county's health insurance agent, Brady Claxton, advised the council to budget more than $4 million for insurance to cover this year.


There are a few exceptions in the ordinance enacting the hiring freeze:


  • Departments may hire for a position that's grant-funded but must clear it with the County Council first;

  • Current county employees may transfer or accept a promotion to an existing position;

  • And a vacancy in an existing job may be filled if a department head convinces the Council that it's absolutely necessary.


Complicating matters, the hiring freeze is happening at a time when the county courts and prosecutor are facing difficulties with caseloads and other issues.


The County Council approved a request by Shelby Superior Court 1 Judge Kent Apsley for nearly $39,000 to buy new computers and related items for all three courts he said were much needed.


“The computers in two of our three courtrooms are coming up on what should be their third replacement cycle, if you're on the county's usual every 3-year computer replacement cycle so, they're that old. The software we're running on is the same package that was purchased when we moved back in the courthouse so that's 20 years old,” he said.


And County Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen told the Council he should know soon if he'll get a grant for a new deputy prosecutor to help with a growing caseload.


In the County Council's pre-meeting, right before its regular meeting Tuesday, Landwerlen cautioned the Council about the consequences of getting live dealers at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino.


Under current law, live dealers will be allowed in 2021, and that could happen this year if the law is changed.


Landwerlen said he's talked to a number of people in other locations, and a spike in crime and court cases is almost certain with live dealers at the casino.

Upcoming events herald arrival of spring

Spring is in the air, bringing the annual special events that signal the warm weather seasons.


This Saturday at the Strand Theatre, five culinary students from the Blue River Career Center are set to square off with flame and fork, pans and panache, in the 4th annual Dish It Out cook-off.


And when the judges' plates are empty, one of those student chefs will emerge as the winner of the $3,000 culinary arts scholarship.


Rachael Ackley, executive director of the Shelby County Tourism & Visitors Bureau, which organizes the Dish It Out competition, said admission is a bargain.


Tickets are still available, and they are available at the box office when you go into the Strand Theatre. You can also get them at Mickey's T-mart. They're only $2, which is a deal, for a great evening of live cook-off entertainment by some really talented high school kids. We do have five students this year instead of four. We typically narrow it down to four, but we had two students tie. So, in all fairness, we thought it was only appropriate to make sure we let all five participate this year,” she said.


Free samples made by local chefs from Your Box Catering and Queen's Cafe & Dining will be available to those attending the Dish It Out cook-off.


The event is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. this Saturday at the Strand Theatre, 215 S. Harrison St.


Dish It Out is affiliated with the annual Taste of Shelby County festival which provides the $3,000 scholarship to the winner.


On Tuesday, the Shelbyville Board of Works granted Ackley's request to close part of West Washington Street on June 7 for the Taste of Shelby County which features food from local eateries, along with beer and wine, and live entertainment.


The board also granted Ackley's request to close the street Sept. 21 for the Barbecue & Brew Fest.


In other matters, the Board of Works directed that the owners of the homes at 1009 S. Tompkins St. and 305 Sunset Dr. appear before the board in 2 weeks to address the conditions of their properties.


The board also heard a dog bite case, and released the dog owned by Beth Ann Moore, 204 E. Pennsylvania St. , with the requirements that it be vaccinated for rabies, and that her dogs are leashed in her yard until she raises the height of her fence.


Following the Board of Works meeting, board member Bob Williams recalled John Stieneker, who died unexpectedly on Sunday.


Williams, who is chairman of the Shelby County Democrat Party, said Stieneker was very active in the party, and more.


He was a township trustee board member down at Jackson Township, and he always worked the polls for us down there, Jackson Township. Gonna be missed. He was not only a good member of the party but a good friend,” said Williams.


Visitation for John Stieneker is Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at Murphy-Parks Funeral Service, 703 S. Harrison St. The rosary will be recited at 3:30 p.m.


A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 125 E. Broadway St.

City Council hears about Mainstreet survey, OKs park equipment, approves councilman's rezoning


What do residents want to see in downtown Shelbyville?


The city's Mainstreet office is conducting a survey to find out.


Mainstreet Shelbyville works to improve the downtown while keeping its historic feel. Executive Director Brandy Coomes described the survey to the Shelbyville Common Council at the council's meeting in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., on Monday.


“The survey has a series of questions on what you currently do downtown, and then it has a series of questions on what you would like to see downtown, you know, what's missing, what needs improved, that kind of thing. It's from our economic committee, and what we want to know is with all the potential we have, all the good things we have, and with the possible reconstruction of the downtown,

what types of businesses and activities should we be going after?” said Coomes (pictured).


Since posting the survey 10 days ago, they've received more than 500 responses, and the survey will be posted on Mainstreet Shelbyville's Facebook page until April 30, she told the council.


Mainstreet is also planning a public input session at the library, Coomes said.


Also, at 5:30 p.m. on April 17, Mainstreet has scheduled a meeting at the MHP Medical Center, 2451 Intelliplex Dr., for vendors who want to participate in this year's Farmers Market.


Contact Mainstreet, 18 N. Harrison St., at 317-398-9552, or online, for more information.


And at 6 p.m. on April 17, Coomes told the council the Downtown Business Alliance will meet at the Riverfront Taproom, 530 N. Harrison St., to discuss ways to boost commerce in the Public Square area.


In other matters, the City Council approved a request from Councilman Rob Nolley (R-3rd Ward) to rezone the house at 45 W. Washington St., directly across from City Hall, from business to residential use. Nolley intends to live the house.


And at the request of the Shelbyville Parks & Recreation Department, the council OK'd a resolution to use $55,985 in racino funds to buy new equipment for Clearwick Park, 2609 Berwick Dr.


Meeting just after the City Council, the council's Finance Committee voted to approve the parks department request. The committee also approved buying an excavator and a new trash truck for the Shelbyville Street Department at a total cost of about $226,000.


Both requests will go to the full council for approval.

County to stop hiring new employees


The weather outside is warming up, but in Shelby County government, the freeze is coming fast.


Members of the Shelby County Council on Tuesday evening are expected to approve a hiring freeze for the remainder of the year.


At their meeting Monday morning, the County Commissioners unanimously passed the ordinance to stop hiring new employees, effective May 1 to Dec. 31.


Commissioner Kevin Nigh (R-North District) said the county's financial situation makes the freeze necessary.


“I know it's on the council's agenda for tomorrow night. They been working on it, discussing it. It needs to be done just to make sure everything stays in order throughout the rest of the year,” said Nigh.


The county has been struggling with declining tax receipts, due in part to tax appeals from so-called “big box” stores following a decision by the Indiana Tax Court on how those stores are assessed.


The Indiana General Assembly has been working on a bill to correct that situation.


Related to the hiring freeze, the commissioners took no action on a request by Lori Springer, director of the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition, to replace a staff member who's leaving.


In other matters, the commissioners approved a request by Mike Obergfell, a vice president with USI Consultants, (pictured) to seek bids to replace Bridge 11.


The bridge is located on County Road 800 North and spans the Snodgrass Ditch about one-half mile east of County Road 400 West.

Lane closures scheduled Saturday on I-65 near Edinburgh, Franklin

The Indiana Department of Transportation will close one lane of I-65 north and south at the Big Blue River bridge, north of Edinburgh, and at the S.R. 44 bridge at Franklin for bridge rehabilitation projects on Saturday, April 13, weather permitting, beginning at 6:30 am.


Crews will begin work on northbound lanes and move to southbound lanes later in the day. Work is estimated to be completed by Saturday evening.

Rezoning approved for city councilman


Just one more OK is needed for Shelbyville Common Councilman Rob Nolley (R-3rd Ward) to buy a house directly across the street from City Hall.


The Shelbyville Plan Commission held a special meeting on Wednesday evening to hear Nolley's petition to rezone the house at 45 W. Washington St. from business to residential use.


Nolley intends to live in the house, said Plan Commission Director Adam Rude, which, for years, has been used for business offices.


During the commission's pre-meeting, immediately before its regular meeting in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., Rude said reverting the property to residential use is in line with the city's Comprehensive Plan.


“So as far as planning staff is concerned, the Comprehensive Plan, this is moving in the right direction, returning what was a single-family home back into a single-family home. It's been fairly well preserved on the inside as a single-family home so we don't have any opposition to this,” he told the commission members.


No one spoke against the rezoning, and the Plan Commission voted unanimously in favor of it, including commission member Gary Nolley. He said after the meeting that he's Rob Nolley's second cousin and didn't feel there was a conflict.


The rezoning petition now goes to the Shelbyville Common Council for approval, likely on Monday. Rob Nolley is president of the City Council.


Politically, 45 W. Washington St. is in the city's 1st Ward. Nolley now lives in and represents the 3rd Ward, but he's running for an At-Large seat on the council in this year's election.


The City Council has two At-Large seats, each representing the entire city, so if Nolley wins he will not have to move.


In other matters, the Shelbyville Plan Commission approved a request from Greenleaf Foods SPC to replat a section of property on Tindall Drive in the city's business park on East State Road 44.


A plat is a map showing how land is divided up.


Greenleaf intends to build a 230,000-square-foot manufacturing plant on a 57-acre site the company will purchase from the city. The plant is to produce vegetarian burgers and sausages.


The company also has an option to buy an additional 23 acres adjoining the larger site. Director Rude said replatting the acreage will allow for future expansion of the facility without Greenleaf having to return to the Plan Commission for approval.

City looking at storm sewers for southwest side neighborhood


An engineering firm will see what it takes to relieve drainage problems on Shelbyville's southwest side.


The city's Board of Works has approved hiring Commonwealth Engineers Inc. of Indianapolis to evaluate storm water issues in the area of Shelbyville between Evans Street and McKay Road.


City Engineer Matt House presented the proposal at the board's meeting Tuesday morning.


He said recommendations from a previous study were expensive, so the city wanted to look at the situation again to find more cost-effective solutions.


Mayor Tom DeBaun summarized the goal and Board of Works member David Finkel asked House about funding.


“So essentially what you're going to do from this proposal is a pretty comprehensive study of what's happening down there, discussing some options based upon the existing infrastructure, and then some recommendations,” DeBaun said, and House replied, yes.


“Will this help us in our grant application for funding based on these projects?” Finkel asked.


“Yes, the big goal is to get either the OCRA or rural grant for soil and water improvements. We tried to do that this year but we didn't have a perfect plan,” House said.


OCRA is the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs which works to develop small cities and towns throughout the state.


The southwest side neighborhood in question sits in a valley between South Miller Street to the west and State Road 9 to the east. The area has long been plagued by drainage issues.


The $30,000 Commonwealth Engineering study will examine the Fortune Ditch, which runs underground near the bottom of the hill along South Miller Street, and crosses McKay Road close to a lift station.


It will also look at the Van Pelt Ditch which crosses McKay Road near the end of Meridian Street (pictured).


In other matters, the Board of Works approved a $561,352 contract with Bowen Engineering to improve the sewage infrastructure at the Blue River Memorial Park, and do some electrical upgrades at the park, and an oil and water separator for a maintenance building.


And the board will look into putting in sidewalks along a portion of Hale Road near the intersection of South Miller Avenue, by the Westar mobile home park.

Commission OKs land sale to new food company


Greenleaf Foods SPC will soon have the land it needs to put down roots in Shelbyville.


The city's Redevelopment Commission has accepted an offer by Greenleaf to buy city-owned land for the company's planned food manufacturing plant.


Approval of the land sale came one day after Greenleaf announced plans Monday to build a $310 million facility on the city's east side.


At a special meeting of the Redevelopment Commission in City Hall on Tuesday morning, commission vice president Phil Haehl outlined the agreement, which includes an opportunity for future expansion.


“They're offering a purchase price of $26,500 per acre, and then a total of $1,517,390 for a total of 57.26 acres. And also an offer for option to purchase 23.68 additional acres at a purchase price of $26,500 per acre, and they will be optioned for 10 years.” said Haehl, looking over the written offer.


The Redevelopment Commission voted 3–0 to approve the purchase; commission president Mark McNeely and member Sam Terrell were absent from the special meeting Tuesday morning.


In addition, the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state's business attraction group, has offered Greenleaf up to $5 million in tax credits and up to $1 million in job training grants based on the company's hiring.


The state has offered the city up to $1.25 million in grant funding for infrastructure at the development site on East State Road 44, just beyond the I-74 intersection.


Greenleaf's production plant is expected to employ up to 460 workers making plant-based protein food products under the brand names Lightlife® and Field Roast Grain Meat Co™.


Headquartered in Chicago, Greenleaf is a subsidiary of Canada-based Maple Leaf Foods Inc.


Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun noted at the city's Board of Works meeting Tuesday that Kroger sells some of the vegetarian burgers and sausages the company makes, and he plans to try them out.


The new production plant in Shelbyville is due to open in late 2020, and the company is set to begin hiring as the opening date approaches.

Neighbors ding softball tournament at new Meridian Street park


A large-scale softball tournament at the city's new Meridian Athletic Complex has some neighbors crying foul.


People living near the new softball park on Hoover Avenue between Meridian and South West Streets complained about the number of cars, the noise and potential safety issues following the park's first official tournament April 6-7.


Scores of young players, their parents, coaches and officials gathered for the games at the “MAC” - the Meridian Athletic Complex - Saturday and Sunday.


That created parking problems along the narrow streets. Plus kids warming up were ducking under yellow tape set up to create a boundary, and darting across South West Street to chase stray softballs, creating a safety issue.


Shelbyville Parks Director Karen Martin said Tuesday she's been talking with the street department, the tournament organizer and residents to address those concerns.


It's about two months until the next big event at the MAC, she said.


“We know that this is our first time around, and so, I don't think we have another tournament until June at that facility. So we've got a little bit of time. But we try, we'll put our heads together and come up with the best solution,” Martin said.


The girls fast-pitch softball tournament this past weekend was organized by the United States Specialty Sports Association, the U triple-S A, or “U-trip” for short.


U-trip puts on competitions in various sports for young kids all across the country.


Local officials hope to attract more large sporting events to Shelbyville to bring visitors and tourism dollars into the community.


Greenleaf Foods SPC to construct North America's largest plant-based protein facility in Indiana

Greenleaf Foods, SPC (the “Company”), today announced plans to construct North America’s largest plant-based protein manufacturing facility in Shelbyville. 


(The announcement can be viewed on the GIANT fm Facebook page)


The 230,000-square-foot facility will more than double the Company’s production capacity to meet the surging consumer demand for its portfolio of brands, including Lightlife® and Field Roast Grain Meat Co™, the #1 and #2 brands in the refrigerated alternative protein category.




The U.S. $310 million Shelbyville facility, slated to become operational in late 2020, will create 460 jobs on the 57-acre property and can be expanded to meet future market growth. The new facility will extend the Company’s network of production facilities, which includes facilities in Seattle, Washington, and Turners Falls, Massachusetts. In addition, the Company plans to invest in equipment to increase capacity and scale production at its existing facilities.


The new Shelbyville facility will enable the Company to meet rapidly rising demand for plant-based proteins by supporting its innovation pipeline across its brands. In January, the Lightlife Burger, Ground, Italian Sausage and Bratwurst Sausage were launched as part of a new pea protein-based product line that delivers the sensory experience and taste consumers crave, marking the brand’s most significant innovation launch in its 40-year history. The new line will be among the products made at the new facility, along with other bestselling products from the Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co brands.


“Our new facility will be a center of plant-based protein excellence that helps accelerate our company’s growth. This will support our rich pipeline of innovative products that both satisfy increasing consumer demand and drive our continued leadership of this dynamic category in the U.S. and Canada into the future,” said Dan Curtin, President. “Our world-class research and development teams are shattering what were once thought to be the culinary boundaries of plant-based protein products, and our new facility will take those ideas from development to commercialization. We are grateful for the incredible support from the State of Indiana, as well as Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville, who have helped make this a reality.”


“In Indiana, we’re proud to support a global economy with more than 950 foreign-owned businesses here providing quality career opportunities for our residents. And we’re thrilled to welcome Greenleaf Foods, SPC to that growing list and to our Indiana family,” Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “Today’s groundbreaking is a significant milestone for the Shelbyville community and for the state of Indiana. I’m confident that our skilled workforce will be a crucial asset, helping support Greenleaf Foods SPC’s growth for years to come.”


At the local level, Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun also praised the announcement. “I am thrilled that Shelby County was chosen for this project. It’s further validation that the administrations of the City of Shelbyville and Shelby County are working collaboratively to make this a great place to do business,” DeBaun said. “This project diversifies our employment options locally and regionally as well as bringing tremendous opportunities to our community.”


The North American plant-based protein market had estimated sales of US$1 billion in 2018 and demand for plant-based protein continues to show strong growth . Fresh refrigerated products represent approximately 24% of the total market and delivered 40% sales growth in 2018. While burgers are fueling category growth, all refrigerated products are forecasted to deliver double-digit growth for the next twenty years.


To mark this momentous announcement, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger and Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun are set to join the Company’s President Dan Curtin at a groundbreaking on the site at the intersection of I-74 and Highway 44, Monday, April 8 at 2 p.m. EST. Representatives of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Shelby County Development Corporation will also be present.


Greenleaf Foods, SPC is a wholly-owned, independent subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX:MFI) based in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. For more information about the Company, visit greenleaffoods.com.


Forward–Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements based on the Company’s current expectations relating its strategies; the anticipated technical capabilities of the new facility; value creation opportunities and other benefits from the projects; consumer tastes, preferences and buying patterns; project execution variables such as engineering, design and construction costs, schedule and approvals; availability of resources and labor necessary for the construction and operation of the facilities; and other factors. As these forward-looking statements depend upon future events, actual outcomes may differ and there can be no assurance that the results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized. The Company does not intend to, and the Company disclaims any obligation to, update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.


About Greenleaf Foods, SPC

Greenleaf Foods, SPC is committed to shaping the future of plant-based foods. Established in 2018, the Company’s portfolio of leading plant-based protein brands includes Lightlife® and Field Roast Grain Meat Co.™. The Company is headquartered in Chicago, and is a wholly-owned, independent subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX:MFI).

Greenleaf to construct 230, 000 square foot facility in Shelbyville; over 400 jobs

Greenleaf Foods is set to announce plans for a $310 million facility in Shelbyville.


The formal announcement is set for 2:00 pm Monday at the Tindall property, along State Road 44 and I-74.


The company would create over 400 jobs at the 230, 000 square foot facility that would involve the manufacture of plant-based protein products.


GIANT fm will have live coverage of the announcement on 96.5 FM, 106.3 FM, AM 1520 and online at www.giant.fm.  It can also be found on the GIANT fm Facebook page.

Commissioners approve 6-month moratorium on commercial solar farms


The Shelby County Commissioners have hit the “off” switch on large-scale solar power installations.


On Monday morning, the commissioners voted unanimously, 3 to 0, to place a 6-month moratorium on “Commercial Solar Energy Systems.”


The vote follows a call from the County Plan Commission in March to put a temporary halt on large solar facilities after approval of the 1,700-acre Speedway Solar farm to be built northeast of Shelbyville by Ranger Power of Brooklyn, New York.


Concerns are that solar installations will use up land that's now farmed, and drive down property values for those living near them.


Desiree Calderella, director of the Shelby County Plan Commission, presented the resolution to the commissioners.


She said the moratorium will give the Plan Commission time to address the issue in more detail, but it won't affect the Speedway Solar development.


“The resolution, specifically number 2, exempts Speedway Solar from this, the moratorium, so if they want to apply to the Drainage Board or for additional applications, they can still do that going forward,” she told the commissioners.


Calderella added she's already heard there's interest in building another solar power facility in Shelby County.


Commissioner Don Parker (R-South District) said he'd like to see a moratorium also on wind farms.


The resolution the commissioners approved only mentions solar installations. Calderella said she'd bring up adding wind farms at the next Plan Commission meeting which is April 23.

Solar farm moratorium is on Commissioners' agenda


On Monday morning, the Shelby County Commissioners are due to consider a resolution to pull the plug on building new commercial solar power installations.


Placing a moratorium on construction of a new large-scale solar farms first came up at the County Plan Commission meeting on March 26.


At that meeting, commission member Kevin Carson suggested the ban following approval of the Ranger Power solar farm northeast of Shelbyville.


Carson noted that the facility will cover more than 1,700 acres, or about 3 square miles.


“I don't think we fathomed that, and I think, I'm aware that we've set, if we don't review it, we've set a precedent that Shelby County could be overrun by solar fields,” Carson said.


The Commissioners are due to meet at 8 a.m. Monday morning in the Court House Annex, 25 W. Polk St., on the second floor.


“Resolution on moratorium concerning commercial solar energy systems” is the first item on their agenda.

Shelbyville Street Department yard waste truck begins operations April 15

The City of Shelbyville Street Department will begin operating its yard waste truck on April 15


Yard waste is defined as material that is a by-product of maintaining a resident's yard - grass clippings, small twigs and branches, leaves, weeds.  


Yard waste must be in a container clearly marked "yard waste" or in paper lawn and garden sacks.

Yard waste cannot be collected in plastic bags.  Yard waste will be collected on resident's trash days. Please set out by 7:00am


"YARD WASTE" stickers can be purchased at the Street Department for $2.00 each.


Long twigs or ornamental grasses can be bundled together with twine for easier collection.


If residents have longer branches (4- 8 feet in length) and are in need of the chipper service, call the office or email me to get on the department's chipper list.

MAC hosts first large USSSA event


Shelbyville's new Meridian Athletic Complex echoed with the sounds of summer on Saturday at the first “U-trip” softball tournament held at the facility.


U-trip is the United States Specialty Sports Association. The group organizes kids' sporting events across the country.


West Central Lightning, the Indiana Terror, the Gators, the Storm and more – a total of 16 teams, two from Kentucky, are competing at the new ballpark. The games are part of U-trip's 4th annual Field of Dreams double-elimination fast-pitch softball tournament for girls aged 10 and under.


Some 400 players, parents and officials are in town for the 2-day competition, the first major softball event held at the MAC, the Meridian Athletic Complex, on South Meridian Street near Shelbyville's city pool.


Over the winter, the Shelbyville Parks & Recreation Department rehabilitated the old athletic field, putting in four softball diamonds to host large-scale tournaments.


The goal is to draw visitors, and their tourism dollars, to the city. However, anyone may attend the games; admission is free.


Additional games are scheduled for Sunday.


Information about upcoming tournament games this spring and summer is on the parks department website – www.shelbyparks.com – and on the U-trip website – www.usssa.com.

Tree giveaway, Project Clean Shelby at Fairgrounds Saturday morning

The City of Shelbyville Stormwater Utility, Shelbyville High School Earth Club and partners will once again host a tree give-away.  The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, at the Shelby County Fairgrounds. 


The trees will be available from 8:00 am until noon. 


Just like the past eight years, the tree give-away event will coincide with the Shelby County Recycling District’s Clean Shelby Day Event also held at the Fairgrounds.



The tree seedlings come from the Department of Natural Resources Vallonia State Nursery.  Bald Cypress, Black Oak, Bur Oak, Buttonbush, Ninebark, Norway Spruce, Red Pine, Silver Maple, Swamp White Oak, Virginian Pine, White Oak and White Pine are available.


Over 10,000 tree seedlings have been distributed thanks to the Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District, Shelbyville High School Earth Club, City of Shelbyville Stormwater Utility, local tree hero Kris Schwickrath, the Shelby County Recycling District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


For more information or to volunteer to help with the give-away, please contact Derrick Byers dbyers@cityofshelbyvillein.com, 317.364.4990.

Shelbyville's Enbi purchased by Watermill Group

Watermill Group, a strategy-driven private investment firm, has acquired Enbi, a leading manufacturer of high-performance precision rollers, gaskets, seals and insulation for complex applications in image transfer, fusing, substrate transport and acoustic and thermal insulation. Enbi serves world-class OEMs in digital printing, ATMs and cash handling systems, HVAC as well as other industries in which exacting precision and quality are critical to end-product performance.


The Enbi deal marks Watermill’s second major cross-border acquisition in two years, deepening the firm’s presence in Europe and adding to its global portfolio of holdings.


“Enbi is a dynamic engineering-driven organization,” stated Tracy Streckenbach, Partner, Watermill. “The company’s technical acumen and worldwide manufacturing capabilities have established it as an innovative partner serving rapidly changing, global end markets. We are looking forward to working with Enbi’s talented leadership team and applying Watermill’s strategy-driven approach to accelerate growth.”


Founded in Nuth, The Netherlands, and headquartered in Shelbyville, Indiana, Enbi’s manufacturing presence spans the US, Europe and Asia. These facilities, combined with Enbi’s globally collaborative approach to problem solving, fuel the organization’s agile product development prowess and enable it to scale manufacturing services that meet the specific technological needs, volume demands and geographic strategies of market-leading customers.


Ms. Streckenbach added: “Enbi has demonstrated an ability to anticipate and deliver on technically-rigorous customer demands in evolving markets. We see rich opportunities to deepen and expand that critical capability, while maintaining the company’s high standards for safety and productivity.”


“We built and grew Enbi’s leading-edge position by providing precision products that help our customers compete at the highest level,” stated Robert Sallmann, CFO, Enbi. “As we begin this exciting journey with Watermill, our customers and partners can expect that same commitment to product and service excellence, while we work in parallel to fortify our strengths and uncover new opportunities to bring best-in-class thinking to the market.”


Watermill acquired Enbi from Platinum Equity for an undisclosed amount. For Watermill, Grant Thornton provided tax due diligence, Phoenix provided financial due diligence advice, and K&L Gates and Blais, Halpert, Lieberman & Greene provided legal counsel. Lincoln Financial advised Enbi, and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles, LLP provided legal counsel.


About the Watermill Group

The Watermill Group is a strategy-driven private investment firm that helps companies achieve their full potential through strategic transformation. For more than four decades, Watermill has been acquiring, operating and improving companies. Watermill looks for businesses in which it can apply a unique combination of strategic insight and management expertise to re-imagine their future and drive growth.


About Enbi

A leading manufacturer of high-performance precision rollers, insulation, gaskets and sealing technologies, Enbi serves best-in-class OEMs in digital printing, ATMs and cash handling systems, HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) as well as other industries in which exacting precision and quality are critical to end-product performance. The company serves a worldwide customer base from its headquarters in Shelbyville, Indiana as well as manufacturing facilities in the US, Europe and Asia. To learn more, visit enbigroup.com.

Forensic Fluids Laboratories releases top drugs detected in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and counties

Forensic Fluids Laboratories released information reflecting their extensive data collection found in each county they service in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio and the top drugs of choice circulated in each state.


The data supports the findings that in all three states, the top drugs in the serviced counties are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ranking as the top drug in all states, followed by Amphetamine and Methamphetamine. Other drugs detected in the analyses include Opiates, Cocaine, and Methadone. Complete results are available at forensicfluids.com.


THC is the physiological active component found in cannabis, and Forensic Fluids Laboratories recognizes the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in December of 2018 in Michigan may be relevant to higher statistics of THC. Specifically, THC is the most detected at 72 percent in Michigan with FFL providing testing services in all 83 counties. With tests conducted in 68 of Ohio’s 88 counties, THC is the top drug at 51 percent.


Finally, testing in all 92 Indiana counties resulted in THC as the highest used drug at 70 percent.


Shelby AMPHETAMINE 19.10%
Shelby THC 18.34%


Hancock THC 17.00%
Hancock AMPHETAMINE 7.75%


Michigan’s second most prevalent drugs are Amphetamine and Buprenorphine, with Ohio and Indiana both reflecting Amphetamine as their second.


The samples are tested in the lab to determine if any drugs are present, with identification of the type of drug and quantitation. The laboratory uses their oral fluid processing method for the most accurate readings. Many courts and employers rely on the credibility of Forensic Fluids Laboratories to provide the most timely and efficient results. This is additionally verified through FFL’s work with the Michigan State Police.


The internal data from FFL lab experts supports the results of the Michigan State Police pilot roadside drug testing program, which ran from November of 2017 to November of 2018. The program was administered in five Michigan counties to test drivers operating their vehicles under the influence of drugs. The findings demonstrate that THC is the highest active drug found in these roadside tests. The program will continue into 2019, with FFL providing secondary confirmation testing.



City unveils 3-part downtown redevelopment plan




That's the city's total cost in a new proposal to rejuvenate Shelbyville's downtown and adjacent areas.


Components of the plan include:


  • Infrastructure and other improvements to the former Major Hospital site on West Washington Street so executive-style single-family homes can be built there, plus demolition and improvements at a site across the street so upscale townhomes can be built on it;

  • Building a 110-space parking garage adjacent to the Methodist Building on the Public Square as part of that building's rehabilitation;

  • Reconstruction and reconfiguration of the Public Square including Harrison Street from Mechanic to Broadway, and West Washington Street from Tompkins to the Square.


City attorney Jennifer Meltzer presented the proposal to the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission at its regular meeting Monday evening.


Following the Board of Works meeting Tuesday morning, Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun outlined how the city plans to pay for the nearly $22.4 million project.


“So we're looking at TIF revenue, relinquishment dollars and racino dollars. If you look at the 2018 and 2019 budget, in racino we've budgeted $500,000; in EDIT we've budgeted $200,000 for downtown projects. And so we've looking at, and as we said last night, we'll be now negotiating with the contractors driving those prices down. Plus there'll be a timeline; not everything starts at once. We'll also be looking at a bond anticipation note which will be essentially like an equity line of credit. So we would only draw down if expenses come in. So we think we'll be able to pay some of that off and not have to finance any long-term debt. But the overall goal is to do all of it with the existing, what we'll call cash on hand, and not have a property tax assessment for the project.”


Besides the $22.4 million proposal under consideration, a separate downtown project, the $2.4 million reconstruction of East Washington Street from the Square to the railroad tracks east of Noble Street, is set to begin soon.


Greg Martz, owner of GM Development Companies LLC, in Springport, Indiana; Bill Poland and Ron Kelsey, co-owners of Genesis Property Development Inc. of Shelbyville; and Ratio Architects of Indianapolis, are the three developers listed in the written downtown redevelopment proposal submitted to the Redevelopment Commission on Monday.


In addition, Chris King, an executive vice president at Runnebohm Construction Co. in Shelbyville, has been leading the effort to build executive housing on the old Major Hospital site.


King owns and plans to live in the former Hamilton House which is adjacent to the site.


Their written, 26-page “Downtown Redevelopment Proposal” is available in the mayor's office at City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., for anyone to read.


At 10 a.m. on April 24, the developers are due to present their plan to the Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission and answer questions.


At 6 p.m. on May 6, the commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the proposal.


Both meetings are to take place in City Hall, and both are open for anyone to attend.


In other matters at the Board of Works meeting Tuesday morning, City Engineer Matt House delivered some good news to the board.


The state recently awarded Shelbyville a $1 million Community Crossings grant for street repair.


House said that makes $3 million the city's gotten since the program was established in 2017, ranking the city fourth in the state in the amount of funding received.


Also the Board of Works approved closing West Washington Street from the Public Square to Tompkins Street for the annual Wine Walk event on June 21.


In addition, the board voted to allow local chef Melvin Pierce to set up his barbecue stand on the Public Square from 4 to 9 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.


And Mayor DeBaun read a proclamation declaring April “Safe Digging Month,” and presented the document to Brad Fix, superintendent of the city's Water Resource Recovery Facility.


Fix was wearing a green “Call 811” shirt to mark the event.


811 is the number to call before digging to avoid damaging sewer or water lines, buried electrical or telecommunications lines, or other underground utility structures.


Public hearing set for major downtown projects

On May 6, Shelbyville residents will get to have their say on a multi-million dollar effort to rejuvenate the city's downtown.


The Shelbyville Redevelopment Commission has voted to hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. that day on proposals to renovate the Methodist Building, 29 Public Square, and build executive housing on the former site of Major Hospital.


City attorney Jennifer Meltzer, who is also director of the Redevelopment Commission, made the request to the commission Monday evening.


“The final item that's in front of you is a proposal that the Redevelopment Commission received when we sent out a request under Indiana Code 5-23 which we proposed and adopted at our last meeting. And this is a proposal that we asked for economic development in Shelbyville, and we received a committee of Sam Terrell, and Mayor DeBaun, Matt House, the city engineer and David Finkel, who's our Board of Works rep, and they've submitted a recommendation to move forward with this proposal with the understanding that it's going to be financed through economic development dollars,” Meltzer told the commission members.


A property tax levy will not be used to pay for the project, she added.


Indiana Code 5-23, that Meltzer mentioned, governs the use of public-private partnerships, also known as P-3 agreements, between governments and private businesses to carry out public initiatives.


Ron Kelsey, co-owner of the Riverfront Taproom in Shelbyville, and business partner Bill Poland have purchased the Methodist Building from former owner Mitch Genser of Purple Vetch Properties in California.


Following the meeting, Poland said their plans include housing in the upper floors of the 5-story building, and retail space or restaurant for the ground floor.


A parking garage built by the city in the adjoining Bradley Hall building has also been discussed.


When Genser of Purple Vetch Properties acquired the Methodist Building in 2013, the city gave him a loan of $285,000 to assist in refurbishing the building.


Giant FM asked the mayor after the meeting about the status of that loan.


Again, as I've said consistently, I think the majority of those dollars were spent on due diligence on that building. I know that at one point in time we had talked about it being a forgivable loan. When you look at the money that was spent on asbestos abatement, remediation, as-built drawings and things like that, that's the majority of where those dollars went. So my anticipation is that at some point when this project kicks off that that'll be forgiven,” DeBaun said.


For the old Major Hospital site on West Washington Street the city now owns, Chris King, a vice president at Runnebohm Construction, has proposed building 13 executive-style homes on the lot.


King owns and is remodeling the former Hamilton House right next to the site, and plans to live there.


His request to the city for funding includes infrastructure improvements at the vacant lot. He's also asking the city to purchase and demolish a building across the street at 157 W. Washington St., now owned by the hospital, to use as a site for a townhome-style development.


A letter regarding the “Hamilton Major Place” project is posted on a Facebook public group called “Let It Out Shelbyville Indiana.”


The document states the expected to cost the city will be about $110,000 per year over 20 years, a total of $2.2 million.


Prior to the May 6 public hearing by the Redevelopment Commission on the two proposals, the developers are due to make a presentation about their plans to the commission at 10 a.m. on April 24.


Both meetings are to take place in City Hall, 44 W. Washington St., and both are open to the public.

Bridge 13 saga nears end for County Commissioners


After some two decades, the story of Bridge 13 is in the final chapter.


On Monday, the Shelby County Commissioners approved two change orders totaling $38,715 for stone rip wrap and other items for Bridge 13's replacement.


Located on County Road 875 West, just south of 700 North in the far northwestern part of the county, the bridge spans Buck Creek. The crossing has been closed to traffic since 2011.


But the Bridge 13 story began in the 1990s, according to Commissioner Chris Ross (R-North District), when load-limit restrictions were put on.


Several years later, the commissioners had plans to replace Bridge 13, along with three others, before the state intervened, said Commissioner Kevin Nigh (R-Center District).


“The bridge at Boggstown, that we got closed, the one just south of 1200 North on 600 West, and Bridge 13, and the bridge on 400 North was all planned in a group, to replace the one at Boggstown and everything else, and all four of 'em were gonna be done, and then that's when SHIPPO come in and changed the agreements,” said Nigh.


SHIPPO is the state's Office of Historic Preservation, a part of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.


Built in 1889, Bridge 13 is a rare example of Pratt steel truss-through construction. Because of its historic nature, the state required Shelby County to preserve it.


So Bridge 13 was disassembled, cleaned up, stored, and now awaits reassembly in Shelbyville's Blue River Memorial Park where it will become part of the city's bike-pedestrian trail.


Weather permitting, reconstruction of Bridge 13 could begin soon, the commissioners said.


Meanwhile, the replacement bridge is set to open as soon as paving can be done, along with installing guard rails and the rip wrap, and seeding the ground.


Barn listed as total loss in Monday Shelbyville fire

The Shelbyville Fire Department responded to a report of a barn fire early Monday morning.


On arrival to 2875 South Miller Street in the 4:00 am hour, firefighters located an approximately 40 X 80 foot heavy timber barn that was fully engulfed. Firefighters immediately took a defensive attack on the fire.


The structure at this time as been deemed a total loss.  No injuries were reported.


Firefighters remained on scene to extinguish hot spots. Columbus Road and Miller Street remained closed until approximately noon Monday in the area.


The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.


Assisting agencies included the Shelby County Sheriffs Department, Waldron Fire Department, Marietta Fire Department, Flat Rock Fire Department and Fix Farms with excavators.