2017-10-11 / Front Page

Purchase of old social services building proposed to Deer Creek Twp. by land developer

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Former Social Services building Former Social Services building Land Developer Benjamin Sutter of Battle Ground presented a “Letter of Intent” to the Deer Creek Township Board at its Oct. 3 meeting to purchase the old social services building, located at 6932W. CR 300N., on the east side of Delphi. Board members Jayne Abbott and Joe Mayfield indicated to the Comet when interviewed they received the letter just one or two days prior to the meeting and knew nothing about the project.

Mayfield, the Board president, said Board member David McCain and Sutter met to develop the plan. Sutter told the Comet Oct. 5 the project has come together “in the last three to four weeks.”

Mayfield said more information must be obtained before the township should consider the proposition. He said although the formal letter was presented to the board, he never “had the idea” they would sign anything at that meeting.

The “Letter of Intent,” which was prepared by attorney Miriam Robeson for Sutter, states it “is intended to be a binding promise to come to agreement in good faith” and “it is anticipated that the Deer Creek Township Trustee may obtain ownership of the parcel in question from the Indiana Department of Transportation…”

The stated purchase price in the letter is $28,000. Sutter’s proposal is for him to reimburse the township for all expenses, including reasonable costs of acquisition and transfer of the property, “except as may be pro-rated to any land retained by the township.” Sutter’s plan calls for his ownership of 65 percent of the usable space for commercial use and 35 percent for public and non-profit use. The proposed terms of the public use include a 25- year lease agreement for the amount of $1 per year, with the Tenant (township) responsible for payment of consumed utilities, such as electric, water, sewer, etc.

The “public uses” suggested include a Gateway Tourist Welcome and Information Center, a Deer Creek Bicentennial Park Center for the new park being discussed adjacent to the Monon High Bridge, a History Interpretive Center for the Deer Creek Valley area with a direct link to the High Bridge, a Nature Center for the scenic and natural areas along the Monon High Bridge Trail, an Interpretive Center for the Deer Creek Valley Rural Historic District and a Deer Creek Township Community Center.

Proposed renovations include cleaning and improving the site, landscaping, installing a driveway and parking to comply with local zoning and overall aesthetics.

Abbott said in an interview, McCain urged consideration of the agreement by the township board members because a purchase by the township with an agreement with Sutter would support the trail system. She said she suggested at the Oct. 3 meeting, Sutter should approach the City of Delphi since the City owns some of the trails in the area of the Monon High Bridge, as does the Wabash & Erie Canal Association.

The Deer Creek Township Board has announced a meeting for Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 10:30 a.m. at the McLeland Law Office, 104 W. Main St. in Delphi. Mayfield said he was unclear why the meeting was called, however he said the agenda could involve the old social services building. Mayfield said those who have questions or have comments can contact him by email at joe.mayfield5@icloud.com.

Delphi Mayor Shane Evans advised the matter will be discussed at a special Oct. 16 City Council meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. in the City Building.

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