Riverfront project gains green light from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Columbus has the go-ahead from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for work to improve East Fork White River downtown. Now redevelopment officials will hire a consultant to see what benefits the improvements would bring from the long-delayed project.

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission approved a $44 thousand contract this week to determine the economic impact of the proposed riverfront improvement efforts, called the “Our River… Our Riverfront.” project. The work will be done by James Lima Planning & Design out of New York City.

The proposal from the Lima group outlines an economic benefits analysis report and the production of a policy report outlining the return on public investment. The group will conduct stakeholder interviews and gather case studies to show possible benefits. The company expects to complete the work in two months.

Before the commission discussion began, Heather Pope, the city’s redevelopment director, pointed out that the city has just received the permit from the Corps of Engineers for the work in the river. The next step will be the hiring of a construction manager for the project, Pope said. The city is going to put out a request for proposals for that role.

But the city also wants to take a fresh look at the benefits from the project, Pope said.

Work on the project has been going on for more than six years. Pope said that with the large project and the associated large costs of the project, it would be beneficial for the city to take another look at the benefits of the project.

One of the givens is that the city will remove the low-head dam that sits between the two downtown river bridges. The dams have been found to be dangerous to those who get trapped in their currents and detrimental to the environment. And the Columbus dam is failing, allowing the river to eat into the former dump site on the riverbank and exposing wastewater pipes.

Pope said that the city originally estimated the cost of the project at just under $9 million and has received more than $2 million in grants toward the work.

Bartholomew County roads closing for pavement work

Several Bartholomew County roads will be closed starting on Thursday for paving work.

According to the Bartholomew County Highway Department, County Road 500S from 1000E to 1200E will be closed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and again on Friday.

County Road 300N between roads 1125 East and 1200 East, will also be closed on Thursday, from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. And County Road 425 East will be closed from 250N to 350N from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

These roads will all be completed closed for asphalt work on the full width of the road.

You should avoid these areas if you can and expect long delays if you can’t. The highway department asks that you be patient with the workers as they improve our roads.

Flu vaccine clinic set for Wednesday at YES Cinema

Lincoln Central Neighborhood Family Center and Walgreens will be hosting a flu vaccination clinic next Wednesday in downtown Columbus.

The clinic will be held at Yes Cinema from 2:30 to 4 p.m. the afternoon of September 27th. The clinic is open to the public from 3 years old up. You can be insured, including Medicaid, Medwise and Medicare Part B, or be either uninsured or underinsured to take part.

Pneumonia vaccines will also be available for those older than 65, or older than 60 with underlying medical conditions, and RSV vaccines will be hon hand for those older than 60 .

Every person who receives a vaccine will be given a bag of popcorn courtesy of YES Cinema.

Vaccines will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments are not necessary, but you are encouraged to call to ensure sufficient vaccines are available.

YES Cinema, is at the corner of Jackson and Fourth Streets in downtown Columbus. For more information or to sign up you can call 812-379-1630 or email info@lcnfc.org.

Homecoming golf tourney to benefit IU Columbus athletics

Registration is now open for a golf tourney to benefit IU Columbus athletics coming up next month.

The “Golf for the Pride” event will be on Oct. 7th at Shadowood Golf Course in Seymour. Proceeds will go to support the schools varsity athletics programs.

IU Columbus is now in its second season with varsity athletics, and its first year as a full member of the NAIA, joining the River States Conference. The Crimson Pride programs include men’s and women’s cross country, baseball, and softball, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s soccer. IU Columbus plans to add men’s and women’s basketball and competitive cheer and dance teams next year.

The tournament will be one of several events on homecoming Saturday for the school, including women’s volleyball, women’s soccer and men’s soccer games that day. There will also be a canned food drive, bowling club outing, pancake breakfast, tailgating, awards night, and the launch of the Talking Leaves student literary magazine.

Registration for the tournament is $100 per person and includes 18 holes of golf with a cart and a boxed lunch.

Organizers are also looking for sponsors for individual holes and corporation sponsors for the event.

You can find a link to register or to learn more at http://go.iu.edu/4QAQ or email Diann Cooper at diancoop@iu.edu

Downtown street closings start Thursday for marathon

You will see parking changes and street closings starting Thursday as preparation gets underway for the Mill Race Marathon coming up on Saturday.

According to marathon organizers, from 6 a.m. in the morning until noon Thursday there will be no parking on Fifth Street between Jackson and Franklin streets and on 7th Street between Jackson and Washington streets as crews place the portable restrooms.

Starting Friday morning and lasting through 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon, you will see 6th Street closed between Washington Street and the alley west of Franklin Street, and from Washington to the 6th Street Parking Garage. Starting Friday afternoon, 4th Street will be closed between Jackson and Franklin Streets until 9 p.m. Saturday night.

Starting at 6 p.m. Friday evening, Washington Street will be closed between 3rd Street and 5th Street and from 5th to 7th Streets through Saturday afternoon and evening. The intersection at 6th Street will also be closed.

You won’t be able to park on Washington Street between 5th and 7th Streets all day Friday through Saturday afternoon. And on Washington from 3rd to 5th Streets Friday afternoon through Saturday night.

You can get more information parking and street closings and complete schedules and maps at http://millracemarathon.com.

State Road 258 closing for culvert work

State Road 258 will be closing in Jackson County Thursday while crews replace a culvert.

According to INDOT, the work will be happening between Base Road and Jackson County Road 100E. The road is scheduled to reopen Thursday evening.

You should avoid the area while the work is underway.

INDOT asks you to slow down, to drive without distractions and to be alert to worker safety in all work zones.


Seymour growth plan draws praises from state

Seymour is getting praised by state officials for its plans to stimulate economic development along the recently opened Burkart Boulevard Bypass.

Indiana Secretary of Commerce David Rosenberg and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation touted three Indiana cities for their recently unveiled plans for growth, including Seymour, Warsaw and Michigan City.

Rosenberg said the strategies “will enable these communities to better attract capital and fuel development and revitalization, positively impacting their residents and creating more opportunities for families for years to come.”

The plans were funded by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to increase economic mobility and opportunity statewide. The plans also equip the communities to tap into funds from the Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative, or READI grants..

The Jackson County Industrial Development Corporation worked with the Brookings Institute to release the study last week. The study recommended several action items including small business and entrepreneur support, developing an immigrant resource center, expanding the city’s trail system and making more options for affordable living.

Phone scammers pretending to be Treasury Department, delivery services

Authorities are warning about a new scam hitting our area.

Greensburg Police Department, says that residents are receiving phone calls from scammers who pretend to be agents of The U.S. Department of the Treasury. The scammers will try to convince you to give up your payment and banking information. Police stress that the Treasury Department will never request payment or personal information over the phone. You should be suspicious of any caller seeking access to your personal or banking information. If you receive a call you should contact local law enforcement.

The Indiana Attorney General’s office is also warning you about scams trying to get you to pay shipping and delivery fees for items you supposedly ordered.

According to the state, scammers are sending texts and emails trying to get you to give up personal information or to install software that is infected with malware. The scam messages look as if they were sent by the U.S. post office, Fedex, UPS or online retailers. However, clicking on the link to track a package will instead send you to a malicious website.

Attorney General Todd Rokita suggests that if you believe there is a chance the message is legitimate, you should contact your shipper or retailer directly and do not follow links in the message.

Nexus Park announced Toyota sponsorship for recreation space

The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department is updating sponsors of spaces in the revamped Nexus Park facility with tours of the future layouts.

Toyota Material Handling executives and members of the media toured the future location of “The Rec” a new multi-use recreation room in the former Fair Oaks Mall on Tuesday. Toyota will be the title sponsor of the space when it opens next year including a large logo on a Toyota-grey wall in the room.

The recreation room will provide a permanent home for many parks activities that are now spread out through different community spaces and have to be transported from place to place, says Jacob Hendricks recreation manager with the parks department.

.The Toyota contribution will be $250,000, park officials said.

Tracy Stachniak, vice president of human resources for Toyota Material Handling, explains:

Other upcoming sponsorship announcements will be for spaces including a teaching kitchen, Hub, and fitness center. Mark Jones, director of parks and recreation for the city explains.

Work on the fieldhouse is expected to finish by the end of this year, with the first events being held there set for second quarter next year. The rest of the parks and recreation facility is expected to be completed early next year.

Nexus Park is a partnership between the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Health to turn the former mall into a community center for health, wellness and recreation. CRH is moving its first practices into the western part of the building next month.

Ohio residents arrested in local drug dealing investigation

Two Ohio residents were arrested recently in Shelby County, after an investigation into the sale of drugs in Bartholomew County.

According to the Columbus Police Department, the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team received information that 30-year-old Denzel Parish of Dayton, Ohio had been traveling to Indiana to deliver drugs including to Columbus. Investigators say that Parish has a criminal history involving firearms, violence, and drugs.

In early September, police developed information that Parish would be returning to Shelby County to distribute drugs. Bartholomew County authorities coordinated with Shelby County Drug Task Force, Shelby County Sheriff’s , Shelbyville Police and the Edinburgh Police departments to find and take Parish into custody.

Shelby County authorities discovered baggies of suspected fentanyl, cocaine and Xanax that were packaged for sale.

Police also arrested 30-year-old Justice J. Dungey,  from Dayton, Ohio who was allegedly assisting Parish.

Both are facing felony charges of dealing narcotics and cocaine.

The Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is a combined unit of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Police Department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office targeting the manufacturing and abuse of dangerous drugs in the community.

Photos courtesy of Columbus Police Department.

Denzel Parish. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.
Justice Dungey. Photo courtesy of Columbus Police Department.