By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — For the first time in quite a while a member of the public asked a question during the public comment on during the Syracuse Town Council’s meeting Tuesday night, May 18.
The man asked if Brooklyn Street would be changed to Polywood Drive for the entire length of the street or just from Main Street to its terminus. The council said the change would be from Main Street west.
The council got right to work approving a confirmatory tax abatement for Legacy Wood Creations LLC. The resolution must now be approved in Elkhart County since Legacy Wood is moving into the Syracuse Technology Park which is part of the South Benton Tax Increment Finance District.
The council also approved a vacant building tax abatement for Quality Engineering Services which purchased the old Shopko building. Attorney Steve Snyder explained QES will be adding 109 employees bringing salaries to $4,359,828. The assessed value is $1,202,200 with QES expected to make an additional $500,000 in improvements.
“What we are doing, in my opinion, is taking a white elephant and putting it to use,” Snyder said. The council approved a 10 year tax abatement for QES.
The council approved a request by Polywood to change Brooklyn Street to Polywood Drive from Main Street to the end. Since Polywood wanted to do this, it decided to compensate the eight households on Brooklyn Street affected by the change by paying them each $5,000. The name change still has to go to the county planning commission for approval.
The council approved a quit claims deed for 301 N. Main St. Located on the northwest corner of Main and Polywood Drive, the house was purchased by Polywood and will be torn down. Polywood purchased the house last May for $163,000 and would like to make a charitable contribution. In order to do that, it had to hold the property for a year. Snyder explained he will be submitting a new deed for Polywood so it can get credit for the charitable contribution.
In the town manager’s report, the council approved hiring CF Environmental Laboratories to provide a certified operator and do lab testing since Town Manager and Public Works Superintendent Mike Noe resigned last week (see related story).
CF Environmental will assist the town through August with the town paying $825 a week for a certified operator and $405 a week for lab testing. The vote was 4-1 against hiring CF Environmental with Councilman Paul Stoelting voting against the contract.
The council approved Task Order 2021-04 to redesign the new road in the technology park after fiber optic cable was laid running through the property. The cost of the redesign is $8,500.
The council also approved Task Order 2021-05 regarding curbing along Polywood Drive. The cost of the redesign was $18,700 to date as Commonwealth Engineering is still working on the redesign.
Polywood has agreed to pay $100,000 for curbing. Jeremy Hardy of Commonwealth requested a letter of understanding for the construction costs. The council approved the $18,700 for engineering the redesign and a change order for Phend and Brown.
Hardy told the council the town had received the second phase of the Community Crossings Grant. The plan is to advertise Thursday, May 20, and open bids before the June council meeting. The grant will be used on road work at Main and Railroad streets.
Diana Clark was appointed to another four-year term on the Syracuse-Turkey Creek Township Public Library Board of Trustees.
Police Chief Jim Layne reported Kelly Jae’s plans to have an outdoor event on the lower parking lot on Main Street. The upper lot and the lot on Palm Drive will be open for parking.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, reported area kids had about 12 trucks to check out during Touch-A-Truck. The Farmers and Artisans Market is open and doing well. Registration is ahead of normal for the Mudtastic June 18.
Jonsson reported he isn’t sure whether the beach will be open Memorial Day as the park department is having difficulty hiring lifeguards. So far only three have applied and he would like at least seven.
In discussions from the public, a man asked when roadwork for Polywood is expected to start. Hardy told him probably late June before works begins.
There was also a question about the youth league ball fields. Councilman Larry Martindale reported the bids came in higher than expected so the committee is looking at either cutting costs where possible or finding more money.