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Shelbyville Code Enforcement officials on Tuesday shuttered a commercial property on Main Street that had been serving as an impromptu home.
Nick Riner and a roommate had spent several nights in the former Gulf Station on the corner of 10th and Main streets while waiting for a the cottage on the corner of 10th and Washington to be cleaned up, they say.
Riner is the son of former Shelbyville resident Tom Riner, who is also the state representative for District 41, which encompasses part of Metro Louisville.
The church where Tom Riner is pastor, Christ is King Baptist Church, owns the old Gulf Station, the red brick house at 1005 Main to the west of the station and the cottage property behind the station on the corner of Washington Street.
Nick Riner said there had been a break-in at the station and that he and a man he called “Rick” were staying there to make sure nothing else happened.
“My dad just wanted us to make sure nothing else happened,” he said. “If the Shelbyville Police had done their job, we wouldn’t even be here.”
Shelbyville Police Chief Danny Goodwin said he was not aware of any problems at the location.
Tom Riner was in Shelbyville on Tuesday checking on the property – and another property he owns at 37 Main Street – and he says all are being repaired in preparation for a sale.
Riner first said that no one was renting the old Gulf station, but he later noted that after an inquiry by The Sentinel-News earlier Tuesday that he had learned that either his son or his roommate had collected $50 from a third resident in the station.
“One of them did collect some money, and I told them we can’t do that,” Tom Riner said. “ The church doesn’t do that. When that man returns, they have to give him his money back.”
A resident had called the newspaper to inquire why people were living in the old service station in apartments that apparently were being separated by a blue tarpaulin.
And after a call from a reporter earlier Tuesday, Code Enforcement Officer Darrell Willard said he went through the place and that it didn’t appear that anyone was living there. He also told Nick Riner and his roommate that they could not live there.
“They asked if it was because it was commercial, and I told them no, it’s because it doesn’t meet code,” Willard said. “There are certain standards that need to be met, like smoke alarms and some other things. I just told them they couldn’t stay there and they assured me that they were staying in the cottage [on 10th and Washington].”
Tom Riner said the two would no longer be living at that building but did not specify about the third person, whom he did not name.
Riner said his son and roommate were working on all four parcels contained within the area, fixing them up to get ready for the church to sell.
“We’re hoping to find a Christian church or ministry that might be interested in any of the properties,” he said. “If we do, we’ll sell them at half the market value.”
Despite his willingness to sell the properties at a low price, Riner said his church is in dire need of funds.
“For the first time in forty years we’ve had to turn off the phones [service] because of funding,” he said. “It was either cut back on mission giving or other things. Our funds are so low now that we need to sell the properties.”
Riner said his mother left the parcels on Main and Washington Street to the church, and the property at 37 Main Street was left to him and his wife, Claudia, by his grandmother.