Council learns about new homes, boosts park committee

Enhancing Creitz Park, adding sidewalks, improving pedestrian safety and reducing blight are among residents’ goals for Cambridge City.

About 40 gathered for brainstorming during the council’s March 13 meeting at Lincoln Middle/High School, discussing long-term improvements to pursue with Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP) funds.

Cambridge City will spend nearly $119,000 on a selected project, and the investment might qualify for matching funds.

County Commissioner Jeff Plasterer encouraged attendees to list issues or opportunities the town must address in the next five years; what two or three things they’re personally willing to work on to make the town better; and what one project could be tackled now to improve quality of life.

Residents expressed concern about a lack of sidewalks east of Western Wayne Elementary that provide access to nearby stores, and speeding drivers in that area.

Participants suggested more youth activities such as a splash pad.

Some said they’d be willing to fundraise for sidewalks; help with townwide cleanups; market the town, schools, local businesses and available jobs; and encourage community involvement to improve town leadership.

One group suggested implementing the town’s comprehensive plan that was developed a few years ago because it addressed many current concerns, including blight, quality of place, parks and public safety.

In other business

Councilor Jim McLane noted the comprehensive plan encouraged creating a park board. He asked whether a committee or board was best. Bob Bever, town attorney, said council must delegate all park powers to a citizen-led board, but it could retain control if adding structure to its existing parks committee. Council supported strengthening the committee, whose meetings will be public. Councilor Debbie McGinley currently oversees the park.

Council will pursue bids to demolish an unsafe home at 140 S. Fourth St. The owner’s family didn’t appeal, noting demolition was unaffordable. A lien will be placed on the property in hopes of recovering expenses.

Mike Frame of Trademark Construction described plans to start building homes this spring on newly acquired land. Homes start in the high $200,000s. Frame said he’s pleased to help the community grow. Council President Steve Sorah said a lack of housing inventory is a master plan concern, so Frame’s development is exciting.

Resident Emily Creviston-Smith requested an update on addressing a subdivision’s concerns about its private water lines that need repairs and replacement costing about $500,000. She said neighbors welcome help in finding grants, and/or paying a monthly fee to reimburse the town. McLane volunteered to be a liaison but Bever cautioned that unless the subdivision wants annexation, he’s not sure how the town could help. Smith said residents would want to keep goats, chickens and other farm animals. They could petition for a Board of Zoning Appeals variance, Bever said.

Cambridge City Main Street’s free summer concert series received approval.

Bids will be sought on a small landlocked piece of property near the water tower.

Ryan Webb was hired as a full-time laborer and Orville Pitcock and Ron Reynolds are part-time seasonal help.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 22 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.