By David Hazledine
MILFORD — The former Lakeland Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center building in Milford may soon have a new owner as well as around 20 new apartments if developer Dan Killinger has his way.
Killinger appeared before the Feb. 8 meeting of Milford Town Council to present his plan for the building in the hopes of receiving the council’s approval before he purchases the property, which is contingent on his petition before the Kosciusko County Area Planning Commission to change the zoning from agriculture to residential. The building is currently owned by Trilogy Health Services.
Killinger explained he planned on revamping the exterior and changing former patient rooms into living units with common laundry, a dog park and recreational facilities. The building’s existing footprint, he said, would remain “as is.”
In response to questions from Doug Ruch, council president, Killinger related former experiences renovating a “dilapidated” building in Crawfordsville into an eight-unit apartment complex. He did the same with a four-unit building in Elwood.
The apartments in “The Village on 4th,” as it would be named, would vary in size from studio to one, two- and three-bedroom units. There would be no age restrictions. Prices would be determined by a local property manager and include utilities. Construction would be provided by OA Construction, “keeping dollars local,” said Killinger. He also assured Milford Police Chief Derek Kreider emergency responders would be provided with an access code to use if needed.
The council agreed with member Ken Long, who had “no objections” to the zoning change.
Eric Merley of W.R. Hall Insurance Group was also on hand to present Ruch with a check for $3,937.92 from the Indiana Public Employers Plan. The money can be used for up to 80% of the purchase price for safety equipment or safety programs which will reduce or limit town employees’ compensation exposure.
To stay in compliance with IDEM rules, settling ponds on wastewater plant property at 1001 W. 1250N, which predate the plant’s construction in 2003, will soon need to be dredged out and filled in, leaving the town with what Water Operator Steven Marquart called a “blank slate.”
After receiving quotes from Merrill Brothers, Wheeling Brothers and Beer and Slabaugh, the council voted to have Beer and Slabaugh fill in the ponds at a base price of $19,500 and Wheeling Bros. remove sludge at a cost of $45 per ton plus IDEM, mobilization and other fees. The council is anticipating a final cost of roughly $200,000 or less.
Bids for 2021 Community Crossing paving and ADA ramp work were opened at the Feb. 8 meeting. Pulver Asphalt and Paving, from Albion, bid $220,473.35 and Phend and Brown, Milford, bid $249,368. A bid from Niblock Excavating could not be considered as it was received after closing. Tricia Gall and Steven Marquart, streets superintendent, will review the bids for a vote at the March meeting.
Marquart reported a problem with the salt spreader controls resulting in a $1,215.84 fix, which the council approved, along with $4,800 needed to fix two emergency water leaks with the help of Beer and Slabaugh.
The council also voted to settle an invoice dispute with BL Anderson resulting from communications work performed at the water tower in 2020. According to Ruch, “The problem is resolved and it’s working.” He also cited “possible responsibility on both parties.” As a result, the $2,470.30 in question was split in half, leaving Milford on the hook for $1,235.15.
During fire reports, Chief Virgil Sharp said Milford’s north fire siren remains out of order and will be maintenanced by Middlebury Electric when weather permits. “It may get expensive,” he warned.
Sharp also reported Milford Fire Department is taking part in a grant request, which would help purchase new radios. Much of the county, he said, is switching to digital 800 radios.
During police reports, the council approved the hiring of RJ Plummer to fill a reserve position. Plummer is a past full-time Milford officer who has “experience with the community” and “requires no training,” said Kreider.
The council also approved the police department’s purchase of two Dell computers at a cost not to exceed $5,400.
An additional $4,455 was approved to send the entire department to a S.W.A.T conference in Indianapolis. Among the offerings will be classes on “use of force issues,” said Kreider. The expenditure is covered by the department’s education fund, said Clerk/Treasurer Tricia Gall.
The council approved $300 for Gall to attend virtual clerk/treasurer training in March.