Our new building is located at 416 S. Park St., just up the road from our old location.
Here's an article by Cassy Gilley from Ellettsville Journal — May 10th, 2017:
The Richland Township Trustee will have a new office in approximately a month. The motive behind the move can be narrowed down to one word: flooding. According to Richland Township Trustee Marty Stephens, the current trustee’s office has flooded four times in the past eight years – once in 2009, before Stephens was elected as the township trustee; in May of 2012; in December of 2013, three days before Christmas, and most recently in September of 2016.
Two streams converge near the building. While there is a culvert, the water is not able to pass through it once it reaches a certain level and comes over the bank, flooding the trustee’s office. This creates quite a headache for the employees of the trustee’s office. “Each time we have to empty out the building, take out the carpet, have everything disinfected, it has to be completely dried out with these huge industrial dryers, and we lose stuff,” said Stephens. The building not only suffers the effects of water damage, but the water is contaminated with dirt and debris, creating mud and making it slippery while attempting to move items in an effort to clean up following a flood. Therefore, the trustee began looking for a new location.
Stephens said the options were limited. An out lot at the Seven Oaks building and a vacant lot next to People’s Bank were appraised with the hope that they would make a fine location for a new office. Both appraisals were about $80,000. Stephens said “We thought, ‘What can an alternative be?’ And we finally got focused on this high ground south of here, but on the property the township owns.” The township owns approximately 10 acres, from the highway back to the Richland Bean Blossom Youth Sports baseball diamonds.
Stephens’ first thought was to lower the stream bed in order to allow more water to pass through the culvert. However, after engineers investigated, the found the stream bed to be mostly rock, making it impossible to lower it. There has also been more residential construction to the south of the trustee building, creating less space for the rain water to percolate into the soil and, in turn, creating more run-off water.
Following an engineering study, they began the process of building a new office building that is the same square footage as the current building, with one exception: the new building has an attached garage. The will allow the cargo van used to transport food to and from Hoosier Hills Food Bank to have a location to load and unload, safe from the outdoor elements. Last year, the food bank at the trustee’s office served 880 families over 40,000 pounds of food.*
The process of obtaining the property and building the new office has taken approximately a year. After meeting with engineers, zoning had to be approved. Having a new location to present to the Board of Zoning Appeals created a new issue. The location would eliminate approximately eight parking spaces used during the baseball season.
Stephens was present with options for parking as well. One option was a lot on the south end of the property between the last baseball field and the street. About four years ago, Stephens received a call from a dentist in Texas who said he was married to one of the family members of the former owners of the property, who are deceased, and offered to sell it to the township. After some investigation, here were no contracts or leans against the property. The township began to proceed to purchase the property. However, it was discovered there was a land contract in existence that was never filed. Therefore, the eminent domain action was stopped and the parking problem remained.
The Kenton Robinson family then called Stephens, offering to donate land to the township to use for parking. Across the street from the Robinson parcel is the Turtleback Swim Club, which is non-functional. After contacting board members of the club, they agreed to transfer ownership of that land to the township as well. The pool will be removed, making room for more parking spaces. With additional space for parking ensured, the township proceeded with the construction of the new office building. “Hopefully, we’re going to come out of this with a building out of the flood zone and we’ll also, in the process, be able to create better off-street parking,” Stephens said.
The construction of the new building is anticipated to be complete in approximately 30 days. When finished, the trustee’s office will no long have the concern of flooding and approximately 25 parking spaces will be created.
— Cassy Gilley