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 K-town Town Council Endorses Main Street Project

July 22, 2009 - The Knightstown Town Council voted unanimously last week to endorse the efforts of a local group hoping to get a Main Street improvement project off the ground.

The council's support of the Main Street Project, however, will, at this time, stop short of providing financial assistance to the group.

Shae Young, program manager for the state's Office of Community and Rural Affairs' Indiana Main Street Program, spoke briefly about the program at the council's July 16 meeting. She said the Knightstown group, co-chaired by Beth Isaacs, is "officially a Main Street community" that is working to obtain nonprofit status, which should improve the group's chances to get grants.

Young said the Main Street program has a four-point approach that focuses on design, organization, promotion, and economic restructuring. She said the Knightstown group has established committees to work on each of these four areas.

Council Vice President Terry Guerin said he didn't understand why the Knightstown Chamber of Commerce was not the lead organization. He said it "seemed like it would be natural" for the KCC to do that.

KCC President Sue Hood told the council that the Chamber had given the project its blessing. However, she said the KCC has its own agenda and projects to keep it busy.

"We're very supportive of them," Hood said, "but we don't feel this should be the Chamber's project." This way, she said, the Main Street Project can proceed without having to get approval from the KCC or any other group.

Guerin said he thought the council's approach should be the same as the KCC's. He said part of his reluctance to the council being involved stemmed from a similar project in the late 1990s that ended up creating some financial liability for the town.

Young told the council that the local Main Street Project really just hoped to get the council's blessing for the work they plan to do. "That's very helpful to them as they move forward," she said. "… Even moral support, that's very helpful."

Hood told the council that the cities of Greenfield and New Castle are both proceeding with their own Main Street Projects. She said if Knightstown failed to follow suit, the town risked being "left in the dust."

Council member Clyde South, who serves as president of the Knightstown Plan Commission, said that body supports the local Main Street Project. He also said, however, that he thought it would be unwise for the town to incur any financial liability as the result of its support.

South made a motion that the council endorse the project, and Guerin seconded the motion. The council's other three members, President Valerie Trump, Steve Nelson and Bob Weber, joined South and Guerin to give the motion the council's full support.

In other business at last week's meeting, the council voted unanimously not to pay a $2,500 bill from the town's insurer. The bill represented a deductible the insurer wanted the town to pay for outside legal advice the insurer sought, without the town's knowledge, on a coverage issue.

The council also voted to authorize issuance of a new check for $31,950.62 to pay the town's portion of a $55,212.46 judgment for attorney fees and court costs owed to The Banner as the result of a public access lawsuit the newspaper won against the town and its insurer. An earlier check issued in March had not included the appropriate amount of post-judgment interest. The town's insurer agreed to pay all interest that accrued after the town issued its first check. (More Knightstown Town Council news will appear in next week's Banner.)


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