A resolution approving statements of benefit and confirming designation of an economic revitalization area in an eligible vacant building was passed during Monday night's city council meeting at Old Stoney in Frankfort.

Backstep Brewing Company will move into the vacant building at 408 E. Washington St., which was purchased by Pennington Holdings LLC. The company, which owns a brewery in Crawfordsville, requested a 7-year vacant building tax abatement (100 percent in the first year followed by 95 percent, 90 85, 60, 40 and 20 in following years), along with a 5-year personal property tax abatement (100 percent followed by 80, 60, 40 and 20 in following years.)

During discussion of the resolution, City Councilman Lewis Wheeler questioned whether a brewing company would be allowed within 500 feet of a church but, according to brewery owner Patrick Pennington, breweries only need permission from any church within 250 feet. The only church within 250 feet of the building is also owned by Pennington Holdings LLC. That neighboring church would be torn down to allow for the creation of a parking lot for the new business.

“The church is on a month-to-month rental,” Pennington. “The previous owner rented to them, and I continue to rent to them. They understand that, when the times come when we decided to tear the church down and put the parking (lot) in, they are aware of that and know that time is coming.”

Wheeler was the lone dissenting vote while councilman David Hussey abstained, and the resolution passed on a 5-1-1 vote.

“I want to thank you all for investing in Frankfort,” said Mayor Chris McBarnes after the vote. “We are looking forward to hearing you. Thank you and congratulations.”

Pennington was pleased to receive approval from the council.

“It is a big step because it is going to help us get it open that much faster,” he said. “We are big on not getting loans. I always felt like getting started with a large amount of debt is going to put you behind the 8-ball. We save up for things and then pay for stuff. We do a lot of the work ourselves, so this will help get some of the things done faster in the taproom to get it open.”

While a firm date is not yet set, Pennington hopes to open the brewery sometime in 2020.
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