Shelbyville City Council: Blue Gables renovation reaches next phase

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Grant money available for city if it meets requirements

By Todd Martin

The project to restore the old Blue Gables Motel from a slum/blight area into a retail-and-arts center will take a small and tedious step forward Thursday.

Money from a Community Block Development Grant for which a group applied last fall has been set aside for the city, working as a governmental liaison with the Shelbyville Preservation Group, if certain procedures and stipulations can be met.

At its regular meeting Thursday at city hall, the Shelbyville City Council will consider entering into a contract with the Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency (KIPDA) that would allow KIPDA to serve as the city’s agent in dealing with the Department of Local Government, which oversees the Community Block Development Grants.

The preservation group is seeking $500,000, with the majority of that money going for the purchase of the property at the corner of 8th and Main streets.

Now, the Department of Local Government will require the city to begin the next step in evaluating the property.

“There are still a lot of hoops to jump through,” Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty said. “But money has been set aside if we can meet these requirements, which I think we can.”

Hardesty said there is a “list a mile long” that will need to be completed, which includes items like appraisals, inspections, environmental reports on asbestos and lead paint and property surveys.

“This is just the next step in the process,” Hardesty said.

With so many items to be checked off the list, Hardesty added that there is still no timeline for the project or even for the property to be vacated. It is still operating under as a short-term apartment building, despite the city qualifying for the grant through the category of elimination of a slum/blight area.

“No, that [vacating the building] won’t happen for a while,” he said. “There is still a lot to do before that.”

Shelbyville Preservation Group was formed early last year by business owner Bob Andriot and architect Robert Burry as a non-profit corporation with the goal of purchasing and renovating Blue Gables, a classically designed former motor lodge that has fallen into disrepair.

Andriot, who since has been elected to the city council, has stepped back from the leadership role with the group.

Kerry Magan, who is also a member of the preservation group, said this portion of the requirements is just tying up loose ends.

“When will everything come together for us to be able to close on the property, we’re still not sure,” he said. “Once we’ve satisfied all the grant conditions, and the money is all square away, then we can close on the property and begin to do some work. But I just can’t speculate on a date yet.”

To qualify for the Community Block Development Grant, the city had to be the applicant and the group was required to raise $125,000, 20 percent of the requested $500,00.

“The city is really just working together with the group as a pass through for the grant to the non-profit organization,” Hardesty said.

Also at the meeting, the council will:

  • Have the first reading on the 2013 fiscal year budget.
  • Have the second reading on the position of recruitment and retention officer for the Shelbyville Fire Department. This new full-time position is being added because of a grant the department received that will cover its expansion from part-time status.
  • Have the second reading on an ordinance to update language in the city’s policies and procedures manual to address employees’ vacation, sick leave and other oversight policies.
  • Consider a bid approval for a new breathing apparatus for the fire department.
  • Hear a presentation from Elizabeth Pulliam from Shelby Prevention.