A deal that would enable Martinsville to purchase the former Rogers Group block plant for $1.05 million was approved Monday by the Martinsville Common Council.
The seven-acre plant on Rogers Road adjacent to Ind. 37 has been vacant for two years.
Mayor Phil Deckard said the building would first be used by South Central Indiana REMC while its expansion project is underway and then turned over to a city department.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is concerned about potential stream pollution problems at the city’s street department location on Blue Bluff Road site, Deckard said. There are also problems with the city water and sewer department garage at Mulberry and Indiana streets.
City engineer Ross Holloway said he is surprised the garage “hasn’t caved in already.”
The financing for the purchase would be channeled through the city’s sewage works, including $500,000 from cumulative capital development, $300,000 from the riverboat fund and $250,000 from sewage work improvements. The city would still have “a couple hundred thousand in reserve for a collapsed sewer” if that should happen before the funds are replenished, Holloway said.
That financing is a temporary measure in order to allow the city to buy property before Rogers’ March 31 deadline, which is the end of its fiscal year, Holloway said. If the city doesn’t complete the deal by then, it would be off the table.
By sometime in May, the city will obtain a loan and the sewage works will be reimbursed, Holloway said.
There has been no final decision about how the city would use the building after SCI departs, Deckard said. The utility could use the building for more than a year.
“South Central REMC is interested in a lease arrangement with the Rogers company and the city,” Deckard said. “The city would stand to be the beneficiary of the benefits of their (the utility’s) engineering.”
Deckard said the price the city has negotiated with Rogers “is far under the listing price. Rogers wants to do something for the city.”
Among the equipment Rogers is leaving is an overhead crane valued at $20,000 to $30,000, Holloway said.
“We’ve been doing our due diligence for weeks or maybe months,” Holloway said. “This is a tremendous facility.”
The city would have to be reimbursed, Deckard said, by the state if the construction of Interstate 69 along Ind. 37 in the future would require that the property be demolished for the interstate.