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Environmental cleanup, building, police matters dealt with by Shelburn council

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The Shelburn Town Council said an environmental cleanup at a remaining building on the former Hagen’s property was performed recently by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Environmental Management during its meeting on Monday.

Town clerk Jay Southwood said the hazardous materials were placed in a secure storage unit at the site on 22 East Mill Street and “hopefully will be removed soon.”

Council president James Ward noted the building is unsound, including a partial roof collapse. “I would be afraid to enter that building,” he said.

“We’re working with Jim Coffenberry (West Central Indiana Economic Development District) to get another environmental assessment,” Southwood said. “Once that’s done, we’re hoping the owner will turn over the property to the town.”

Southwood is also working with Terre Haute attorney Lou Britton to perform title searches with a goal to obtain the former Ruritan building for the town. He feels that could be accomplished within a year.

“We just want to clarify the properties, with the goal for the town to own all the property from Railroad Street to Thomas Street,” Ward said. 

He noted the land might be used as a recreational space, such as a splash pad “for something kids can do.”

The council also updated various timelines on other unsafe and/or abandoned buildings in the town.

“We’re on the right track to get the old bar building,” Southwood said of a property located across from the community building on Washington Street.

Southwood also said the town is ready to perform a Phase 1 environmental study on the former Thompson’s gas station “to get that cleaned up.”

In addition, Southwood said he is working with town attorney Terry Modesitt so a gate can be placed to close Railroad Street on the east side of the old Interurban Depot building which is undergoing renovation.

“It’s in the office right now,” he said. “I think it’s just real simple to pass an ordinance.” 

Southwood stressed the town only wants to close the street, not vacate it. He was hoping to get this ready for action by their next meeting.

Turning their attention to police matters, the council approved Mason Elliott to join the town’s police force as a reserve officer.

“He’s already completed his annual training requirement,” Shelburn Town Marshal Doug Inman said. “He came in on his own time and taken a chance on (a position)." 

But before Elliott was approved, councilman Jesse Kasinger questioned Inman about the number of reserve officers.

Inman said there are nine unpaid reserve officer slots, but only eight will be filled after he removes Jeremy Swalls, who was hired in August 2017, from the list.

“Jeremy Swalls hasn’t done anything so he’s out,” Inman said.

“Does he know that?” Kasinger asked.

“I’m going to collect his stuff as soon as I find him,” Inman said. “He hasn’t done anything all year.”

At that point, Kasinger made the motion to accept Elliott “as long you get the stuff from Swalls.” The motion passed in a 4-0 vote. 

After Elliott met the council members, Inman reported, “More good news, Ford finally built our new police vehicle. It is in Indianapolis right now. They’ve already started on it. We got the old patrol car up there to get the rest of the stuff out of it." 

Inman was hoping the new vehicle would be ready for use by the end of this week.

Also, Inman stated his reserve officers have done such a good job, it’s created a problem.

“These guys have done a knockout job and to prove that, we’ve got so much (police) evidence we don’t have enough room to store it,” Inman said. “We are full. And the smell of the dope in there …”

“I went in there the other day and came out feeling real good,” council president James Ward joked.

The council passed a motion to create a larger space for the police evidence.


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