By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
The Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety got the ball rolling Monday on a process that could result in city officials taking possession of the old Holiday Inn property on Goshen’s south side.
During Monday’s meeting, the board approved a joint resolution with Elkhart County officials concerning the county’s transfer of tax sale certificate interests to the city. Included in the list of heavily tax delinquent properties was the old Holiday Inn property located at 1375 Lincolnway East.
The property was originally set to go to a special public auction this spring, where bidders would have the chance to purchase the property from the county at a fraction of the back taxes owed. However, Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman went before the Elkhart County Commissioners in February with an alternate proposal — sign the property over to the Goshen Redevelopment Commission.
At the time, Kauffman said he made the proposal due to concerns that a tax sale purchase would just perpetuate a string of failed enterprises that have plagued the property for over a decade. Instead, Kauffman proposed that the county sign the property over to the Redevelopment Commission and allow the commission to decide what the best course of action would be for the troubled property. The county commissioners agreed.
Included among the possible options for the property, should it eventually be in the hands of Goshen officials, were demolition or possible sale and reuse. Mark Brinson, community development director for Goshen, indicated that while demolition is a possible option for the old property, he thought it might be better to first put out a “request for proposal,” or RFP, to the community to see if there is anyone with a viable plan and the ability to finance a project that would not require demolition.
According to city attorney Larry Barkes, Monday’s approved resolution by the Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety is the first step in what will likely be a fairly long and involved process leading up to the possible transfer of the property to the city.
“The first thing that happens is the county and the city adopt similar resolutions to accept the transfer,” Barkes said.
Once that’s done, Barkes said, there are numerous other hurdles the city and county must jump through before the process is finalized.
“There’s a period of time where all parties involved have to be notified, then the property owners have a right to pay the taxes for a period of time, etc.,” Barkes said. “All that could take a few months... approximately six. So it’s not close to official yet.”
In other business, the board approved:
• A $69,952.49 contract with Square 1 Builders of Elkhart for construction of a new concrete trail near Goshen College. According to the contract, the project is being funded through a partnership between IU Health Goshen Hospital, Goshen College and the city of Goshen. The project reportedly involves a financial donation by IU Health Goshen Hospital officials, as well as an easement across hospital property. Goshen College officials will also grant an easement across GC property in addition to accepting the new trail lighting for maintenance. Goshen officials will provide the remainder of the project cost.
• A $174,302.75 contract with C & E Excavating for construction of Phase 2 of the ongoing Dickerson Landing Neighborhood rehabilitation project on Goshen’s north side.
• A $66,952 contract with Lawmasters Inc. for a roof replacement project at the city’s North Wellfield building, 308 N. Fifth St., Goshen.
• A $22,200 contract with Village Blacksmith for railing upgrades at the bridge over the Elkhart River connecting Mullet Park and Shanklin Park.