PRINCETON — Gibson County Redevelopment Commission on Monday unanimously funded the Fort Branch Teen Center’s $4.03 million request for use of tax increment finance revenue for a major renovation and expansion of the facility.

The old Fort Branch school gym, donated to a non-profit volunteer organization by South Gibson School Corporation, is used for community events, rentals, gym classes, recreation league basketball and for the Fifth Quarter teen activities.

Bill Knapp, present of the non-profit organization, detailed the plans with architect Kale Calvert, South Gibson School Corporation has gifted property on west side of gymn which makes room for parking lot and addition.

Calvert said the work for the facility has been prioritized to include fire protection, making the facility handicap accessible, electrical work, roofing repair or replacement, flooring work, re-pointing the brick, replacing interior doors, scoreboards and more.

Calvert said some alternate projects, if funds are available, might include solar panels, defibrillators, sidewalks, extending water lines and electrical circuits, a retractable batting case, and more parking space.

Redevelopment commission member Bruce McIntosh offered the motion to approve the funding, supported with a second by Larry Michel, and it passed on a unanimous vote.

Attorney Jim McDonald said the funds would be made available as a forgivable loan, after the approval of the Gibson County Economic Development Commission, Gibson County Council and the Redevelopment Commission are approved.

The board also unanimously adopted a resolution that clears the final hurdle in providing use of $13.2 million in TIF funding for the Toyota Indiana YMCA project in Princeton. That project involves major additions and renovations to the former Lowell school building in Princeton to create a full service YMCA facility for the community.

In other business, the commission tabled requests for use of TIF funding from two libraries and the Gibson County Council on Aging.

Members told Fort Branch Library Director Laura Happe they need to bring the library board’s request for use of $2.6 million in TIF revenue to legal review to assure it meets the requirements for use of TIF funds.

The library project involves building new reading and activity space around the existing learning center, and designating the original Carnegie library facility for office/geneaolgy work.

Happe presented the designs for the project to the board and detailed the proposed services available in the expanded facility.

Redevelopment Commission member Mark Iunghuhn said he believes the project should address ADA issues with the original Carnegie facility as well.

Happe said the library board has looked for grant opportunities but found none. They do have a bank willing to work with them for a bridge loan if TIF funding is granted.

Their preliminary design is 90% complete, and if funding is granted, they could be ready to let bids in December and award bids sometime in January or February 2022, give notice to proceed with construction in early march and be open in January 2023.

The request will be on the Sept. 13 meeting agenda.

They also tabled Owensville Carnegie Library’s request for use of $836,000 to build an elevator, create ADA-accessible bathrooms, and pay for the recent purchase of additional space across the street from the facility.

Iunghuhn asked library director Margo English to get more clear information on whether the recent building acquisition is considered ADA compliant. He also asked English to make additional contact with the library’s architect to provide more information at the Sept. 13 meeting.

Gibson County Council on Aging Director Julia Rahman and board members asked for use of $44,950 in TIF revenue to pave the Princeton center’s parking lot.

The board asked her to consult with the county highway engineer for additional pricing information, and agreed they could possibly meet in special session to act on the request prior to the Sept. 13 meeting, if needed.

The board approved monthly claims including payments of $1,150 to ONB Wealth Management for bond service; $297.50 to Angie Walden for professional services; $1,547 to Beam Longest and Neff or engineering work on the I-69 sanitary sewer project; $4,600 to BLN for engineering work on the Toyota lot 4 project; $3.081 million to Blankenberger Brothers for Toyota lot 4/Maple Tree Drive construction; $28,964 to Sokeland Heating and Air for the senior center air conditioning replacement; and $79 to The Daily Clarion for legal notice publication.


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