Hurrying to meet a deadline to apply for blight elimination funds, Cambridge City town council has planned public hearings about home demolitions next week. 

The hearings will start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at town hall, 127 N. Foote St. 

Council will decide whether to affirm, reject or modify a handful of unsafe building orders issued by Ken Risch, superintendent of public works.

Wayne County is offering communities the opportunity to apply by June 30 for home demolition funds.

Before applying, town officials must issue a teardown order for each individual property and preferably have conducted public hearings on those orders.  

County officials will review applications and prioritize projects in the coming weeks.

Owners already have received warning letters and then Risch’s order declaring it unsafe.

Council President Jim McLane said the town has made a lot of progress in recent weeks on contacting owners of blighted properties and getting feedback from some of those owners about their intentions.

Bever asked council to adopt an ordinance noting the town is adopting state code on unsafe buildings. He said it would be added protection in case any attorneys would challenge the orders, and council approved it unanimously. 

In other business

  • As part of Wayne County’s Hoosier Enduring Legacy Project investments, county officials offered to pay for hardware to expand Wi-Fi at Creitz Park. Cambridge City would be responsible for the monthly bill. Council wants to learn that amount before committing. Cambridge City Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Gabbard supported the Wi-Fi, saying it would be good to combine with security cameras because of extensive damage to its 2023 Christmas lights displays at Creitz. 
  • Council learned East Germantown officials have signed a $3,000 contract for CCVD fire coverage for 2024 and paid half so the town won’t lose fire protection. East Germantown officials also inquired about a five-year contract. However, Bever noted the annual fee already could have been increased to $4,000 to $5,000 based on five-year plans proposed in 2019, and adding another five years at $3,000 might not be supported.   
  • A resident raised concerns about parking line placement on U.S. 40, saying visibility is limited at North Pearl and other intersections. He was encouraged to contact Indiana Department of Transportation.
  • Council unanimously approved an approximately $4,500 proposal from Co-Alliance Fuel for fuel tanks and related software for town vehicles. First responders supported streamlining those purchases.
  • Office Clerk Glendora Pitcock is retiring Aug. 30 after 30 years of service at town hall. Pitcock’s replacement, Carreen Bogue, will start June 24. 
  • Council approved Cambridge City Police Department’s hiring of Cody Frame, already academy certified, at $48,340. 
  • Council approved $13,000 in wellhouse work.  
  • Councilor Jim King received council’s support to pursue funding for updating zoning maps and laws, which was a goal in the town’s comprehensive plan. Wording for incorporated areas was last reviewed in 1981 and unincorporated in 2005. King emphasized council’s need to budget for part of the estimated $35,000-$40,000 cost in 2025; partial county support or grants might be available. 


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A version of this article appeared in the June 19 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

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