A new park performance venue, an inclusive playground and other improvements are on the horizon for Cambridge City, made possible by donations, grants and state and federal funding.

Wayne County Commissioner Jeff Plasterer outlined the town’s opportunities through the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program during its Sept. 11 council meeting.

Cambridge City already committed $118,978, which is 30% of its American Rescue Plan Act allocation, toward town projects. County and Indiana funds will supplement.

An estimated $650,000 Creitz Park performance venue would receive $450,000 from the state’s Community Development Block Grant, $119,000 from Cambridge City, $25,000 from SugarCreek and $5,000 from Wayne County tourism. That means about $51,000 fundraising remains, although plans could be scaled down. Council voted that night for the $119,000 toward the park.

Cambridge City also can apply for a mural outside the fire station to be part of the county’s new 11 murals, potentially trimming $10,000 from Creitz expenses.

The second idea is an inclusive playground. Successfully raising $50,000 could result in a state match. Plasterer said $38,500 already is committed by public and private sector parties, making that goal more reachable.   

Cambridge City may apply for $780,000 countywide blight elimination and $1 million Main Street revitalization funds. It’s eligible for no-cost Wi-Fi infrastructure at Creitz Park if the town pays monthly expenses.

Western Wayne also benefits from a van bringing assistance from the new Family Resource Center.

2024 budget

No one spoke during a public hearing for the town’s 2024 budget. Town attorney Bob Bever said owners of a $100,000 property will pay $2.80 more in taxes.

He was pleased local expenses remain low despite hyperinflation. Town employees will receive a 3% raise, and a fifth police officer was added without using ARPA money. The operating balance will have $60,739 available for emergencies in addition to rainy day funds.

In other business

  • Stormwater: Bever said he and Wayne County’s attorney have worked out the county charging $1 per year per customer to bill town stormwater fees.
  • Police: Chief Richard Roberts thanked Larry Kuhn for his service. Kuhn retired Sept. 15 after nearly 22 years. In addition, CCPD’s K9 vehicle was in a collision and needs to be totaled. Roberts said the officer wasn’t injured, and the other driver was liable and insured.
  • Blighted properties: Neighbors noted concerns about two homes in the 400 block of West Front. Roof holes can be seen, plus plentiful groundhogs and raccoons. Risch is following up.  
  • Land: Robert Miller noted two properties he’d like to buy from the town. One is a platted but unapproved area of North College Street that he’d split with neighbors. Council is willing to vacate the property to Whitewater Drive. Bever agreed to prepare a petition for vacation when another neighbor is interested. The other is a commercial property behind Green Street. Superintendent of Public Works Ken Risch said the town had no plans for it. Council voted to abandon the land and seek bids.
  • Donation: Approved $300 for the fire department from Cambridge City Main Street.
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A version of this article appeared in the September 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

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