By Deb Patterson
NORTH WEBSTER — It’s official. The Tippecanoe Township Trustees office in the North Webster Community Center was officially dedicated with a ribbon cutting Tuesday, May 23.
The event was hosted by the North Webster-Tippecanoe Township Chamber of Commerce.
“We are excited to be a part of the community center,” said Tippecanoe Township Trustee Chris Francis. “There are a lot of projects going on this year. A lot of positive things are taking place in the community and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.”
The township offices were moved to the community center late March. It occupies suites 123/124, which is located in The Culver Family Wellness Center on the north end of the building. The offices are in former office space occupied by the North Webster Library.
The township offices had offices in the former township building on South Morton Street. The building was sold to North Webster Church of God mid-March.
Officials decided on the sale of the township building after finding itself in competition with the community center.
In 1987, Tippecanoe Township was gifted the vacant structure after then trustee Dick Mitchell identified it as an ideal location for a community center.
Mitchell and his wife, Sue Ann, both elected township officials, worked together to renovate the building from a factory to a place where groups could hold meetings, host parties, facilitate other gatherings of people and house the assessor’s and trustee’s offices. The building’s new interior would be centered around a large room, which could be divided into two separate spaces.
The North Webster Lions Club moved into the building, and have remained ever since. The Tippecanoe Township Food Pantry was gifted an adjacent building, which previously had served as a machine shop owned by Joe Harris. The smaller building was eventually demolished and converted into additional parking, with the food pantry moving into the township building.
Chris Francis was elected trustee in 2018. One of the main tenets of his administration was to make decisions that were fiscally sound for the township. Early in his first term, the idea of selling the building was put on the table.
As time progressed, it became even clearer the building needed to be moved on to the next stage of its existence.
With the NWCC taking on the role as the community center, usage for rentals and parties at the township building steadily decreased. While the building still had the Lions Club and food pantry as permanent tenants, the cost to maintain the building was far outpacing the income being received.
“Overall, this is beneficial to the community,” Francis said. “This building has been vacant a majority of the time and the taxpayers have been paying for that vacancy. We’re always trying to look out for the taxpayers the best we can.”
Hours for the township offices are 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday and Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Friday.
To reach the township office, call (574) 834-1600 ext. 228.