The demolition of the former Indiana American Water building at the intersection of Canal and North Buffalo streets has been at a standstill since before October 2021. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
The demolition of the former Indiana American Water building at the intersection of Canal and North Buffalo streets has been at a standstill since before October 2021. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
While her mom loves her townhome and its location, Lynn Murphy told the Warsaw Common Council that something needs done about the way North Buffalo Street is looking.

“My mom just moved into town. My husband and the boys have been here since 1999. My mom is one of the seven townhomes on Buffalo Street and is just frustrated with how the property is looking and things. So, we’re trying to see if we can’t get things cleaned up over there,” Murphy said.

She said it’s a wonderful location and having her mom downtown is a lot better than she ever thought it would be.

“We’re coming through town all the time. We’ve been walking to First Friday, walking to different things downtown. It’s great. Just hoping to get it cleaned up a little bit,” Murphy said.

The grass isn’t mowed and there’s some really tall weeds along North Buffalo Street. The former Indiana American Water building still isn’t demolished for a future mixed-used building. The demolition has been at a standstill since before October 2021.

Mayor Joe Thallemer said he’s talked to Murphy on the phone and passed her concerns on to the Buffalo Street developer, Dave Matthews.

“We’re certainly not making any excuses for the developer. We’re here to make sure that project is done properly and we appreciate those comments, and I just told her tonight that we’ll do everything we can to get the developer to take care of their problems. So, I thank you for coming down and publicly stating your concerns,” he said.

Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins asked if there was any updates on the former Indiana American Water building. The building was being demolished for a mixed-use building, but the demolition was halted after a boarded-up basement was found.

“I actually talked to the developer today and they’re about a week away from getting their structural engineer report,” Thallemer said. “The issue is that the large portion of your ground is a pretty significant cost to take out and if there’s not a beam going in that position, it doesn’t need to be taken out, it just needs to be taken to the surface. So, they’re trying to ascertain the final positions of their beams, the location of the beams, to determine whether that whole thing is going to have to come out or whether it’s just going to be taken down to the level.”

He said the developer has had trouble getting his structural engineer.

“I talked to him about a month ago and he had one going that’s working on it now. I talked to him today because that demolition was ... scheduled for June, and then the demo guy had an emergency and they moved it back to the first part of July. So that’s the latest update,” Thallemer said.

Earlier in the meeting, the Council unanimously approved on first and second reading an ordinance amending the city’s 2022 general salary ordinance.

Thallemer told the Council that at their first meeting in May there was an error made on an amendment for the general salary ordinance. Somehow, he said, the wage for the aviation manager, Nick King, was decreased, which was not the intent.

King’s original biweekly wage was $2,687.47. The amendment in early May reduced it to $2,27523. The amendment approved Monday increased it to $2,858.49. The new wage for King, as well as other city employees who are getting wage bumps according to the May amendment, will see it reflected in their June 26 pay.

The Council also unanimously approved the CF-1 compliance review forms for the continuation of 11 tax abatements, including:

• West Hill Investment Group LLC for the Nextremity Solutions building at 1195 Polk Drive. The building was built about three years ago and this is the third year of the abatement. The value of the building is over $8 million. It is the third year of the abatement.

• Texmo Precision Castings U.S. Inc., 596 E. 200N, sixth year of the abatement originally given by Kosciusko County for real and personal property improvements estimated at around $4.7 million. Texmo spent around $2.8 million in real property and $2.4 million in personal property improvements and hired 17 additional employees since 2016.

• Lake City Heat Treating Corp., 2427 N. Boeing Drive, tax abatement granted in 2019 for personal property improvements estimated at around $4.8 million. They spent around $4.4 million in personal property improvements and hired eight additional employees since 2019. It is the second year of the abatement.

• Alpha Manufacturing & Design LLC and The Garden Spot LLC, 2070 N. Cessna Road, originally granted by Kosciusko County in 2014 for real and personal property improvements estimated at around $5.4 million. They spent around $650,000 in real property improvements and have hired 18 additional employees since 2014. It is the fifth year of the abatement.

• Wildman Business Group LLC, 800 S. Buffalo St., was granted a 10-year tax abatement on personal property. The tax abatement was granted toward the end of last year with the expected expenditure of $2.1 million in personal property equipment. Wildman has spent approximately $2.1 million on personal property to date. It is the eighth year of the abatement.

Wildman Uniform (R&B) was granted a 10-year tax abatement on real estate and personal property. They expanded their existing facility by 12,000 square feet and spent $533,000 on real and personal property improvements and created an additional 82 jobs since 2012. This is the 10th year of the abatement.

The third one for Wildman Uniform (R&B) was for a 10-year tax abatement on real property. They completed an additional to their existing facility to add additional space for receiving and shipping. Wildman completed the real property improvements and have since hired an additional 65 employees since 2016. This is the fourth year of abatement.

• Legrand AV (formerly Milestone AV Technologies LLC), 3100 N. Detroit St., spent roughly $1.052 million in personal property improvements since filing the statement of benefits form in 2014. Milestone estimated added 30 new employees, but hasn’t added any new employees to date. This is the eighth year of abatement.

• Zimmer Productions Inc., 345 Main St., was granted a 10-year tax abatement on personal property in fall 2004. They estimated adding 270 additional jobs total for all three incorporated entities and have added over 360. This is the 10th year of abatement.

• Biomet Inc. and Subsidiaries, 56 E. Bell Drive, was granted a tax abatement in 2014 by Kosciusko County for $40 million in new personal property. They’ve spent an estimated $22 million in new personal property. This is the fifth year of abatement.

• Biomet Inc. and Subsidiaries, 56, 132 and 351 E. Bell Drive, was granted a tax abatement in 2010 by Kosciusko County for $28 million in new personal property. They spent an estimated $6 million in new personal property. This is the eighth year of abatement.