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County returns deed to Roann

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

The Wabash County Commissioners returned the deed for a now demolished school back to the Town of Roann.

The Town of Roann is home to the old Roann school, whose true name has been lost to records, according to Clerk Treasurer Bob Ferguson. Ferguson said it was built in 1944 and was the learning center for local students, some of whom still live in the area.

It was closed down in the ‘80s and has since been owned by a local non-profit group before the town decided it was a danger to residents. He said the upkeep for the building was too costly and some damages, like the leaking roof and crumbling walls, were beyond repair.

The $350,000 demolition, which was completed last year, was made possible through shared ownership of the building with Wabash County.

The school was demolished except for the Indian mascot from the school’s basketball court. The centercourt piece was preserved, cleaned and now hangs in Roann’s Town Hall.

Pieces of the floor were saved and given to the commissioners on Monday to say thank you for making the project possible.

“We would have never tried to do this on our own,” Ferguson said. “It was more than our town could take on, but with the county we knew we had backup. If anyone has driven past it, you’ll see that it’s no longer there … it’s a blank canvas for our community right now, which is a big, big deal.”

He said the town has started to place interest accrued from their bank account into a park fund that he predicts will be used to obtain a grant in the future.

Commissioner Barry Eppley said the collaboration of the two governments was imperative for this project.

“It’s a sad day when a structure that’s so important to the community gets to the point where it becomes a danger to the community, but it’s certainly a wonderful accomplishment to get done,” Eppley said.

Beverly Ferry, CEO of Living Well Winchester Center in Wabash, offered a quarterly report for the commissioners Monday, stating there was about $60,220 in funds for the senior center’s transportation program. Of that money, about $40,100 is federal and $12,120 is from the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).

Ferry advised the commissioners to familiarize themselves with the program for future State Board of Accounts audits.

County Highway Superintendent John Martin presented two bids for county road projects. The board is taking into advisement a $1.45 million bid from E&B Paving Company out of Huntington, and a $1.28 million bid from Phend and Brown Construction based in Milford.

Wabash County Sheriff Ryan Baker said the jail population was at 177 inmates as of Monday morning, with 120 in the county jail, 47 in Miami County and 10 in Elkhart County. He said the jail had been over capacity 100 percent of the time since Jan. 28.