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Lagro Canal Foundation needs project funds

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI - amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

The Lagro Canal Foundation president Beth Gillespie asked the Wabash County Board of Commissioners on Monday to fund $20,000 to help the foundation renovate three historic buildings it purchased at a tax auction in 2017.

The foundation plans to make the Citizens Bank of Lagro, Masonic Lodge and Improved Order of Red Men Building into a mixed-use facility that includes three apartments on the upper floors and shops in the lower floors.

The first stage of the project is roof replacement, which Gillespie said is an urgent need. The second phase will include an event space renovation, while the last step will be interior fixes. 

The money will go toward replacing the roof of these buildings. The roof replacement of all three buildings will cost $50,0000, Gillespie said. The foundation has a donor who offered to pay $20,000 if the foundation can find someone to match the amount. They have until June 30th to find a match.

“We are looking to the County Commissioners to invest in our endeavor to allow us to make these buildings thrive and generate tax revenue for the county,” Gillespie said. “We’re hopeful that the County recognizes that by the Lagro Canal Foundation purchasing these buildings, the County was able to avoid tens of thousands of dollars in demolition expense.”

The Lagro Canal Foundation has already improved a boat ramp, built a fire pit and pavilion with public restrooms. The Rustic Barn at Hopewell is being renovated into an even center and Lagro Canal Foundation will catalyze other development, Gillespie explained.

“As we all know, population in Wabash county area has been on the decline for 30 plus years, and we would like to see this turn around. In order to do that, the whole county has to be going in the same direction,” Gillespie said.

She said there needs to be more focus on improving all of Wabash County and not just a few towns.

The board took the request under advisement.

A section of Baumbauer Road will be closed through May as the bridge over Burr Creek is replaced, County Highway Superintendent John Martin told the Commissioners on Monday. 

The Wabash County Highway Department already closed a section of Baumbauer Road yesterday.

The road will reopen in May. The Bridge is located right at the ACRES Hathaway Nature Preserve, between South Wabash County Road 75E and Dora Road, Martin said.

Martin asked the board to waive the fees associated with Norfolk Southern using the county drains after they plan to replace the tile drain at County Road 200W, just north of County Road 1400N.

“There’s a water issue there,” Martin said. “The water was standing and it causes it to flood across the road and it also causes the railroad a problem. They were wanting to drain it, so its gonna help us as well as help them.”

The motion to waive the fees was approved unanimously.