Culver’s future focus among council discussions

The question of Culver's future focus was discussed at last week's town council meeting, after council member Ginny Munroe revisited the matter of $10,000 in town monies paid to the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation each year.

Munroe had questioned the donation at a recent council work session, noting the MCEDC's focus is primarily on bringing industrial jobs to the county, and Culver has little space available for such development at the moment. Kevin Berger, Culver's representative to the MCDEC, subsequently met with Munroe, council member Bill Githens, and town manager Dave Schoeff to discuss the matter, according to Munroe.

During that meeting, Berger suggested bringing the Culver Redevelopment Committee and plan commission into a dialog session with the council in hopes of hammering out a more "proactive" strategy for Culver's future development.

Noting she's "torn" on whether to continue funding the MCDEC, Munroe added, "Bringing industry into Culver...would be helpful, but we don't even have land available (and) we have businesses already here that struggle. I feel we need to proactively get involved in marketing Culver in terms of business."

Munroe and Githens explained cabinet-maker Elkay-Medallion, in Culver, has expressed some interest in bringing related companies to its 40 acres of presently unused property, and there's a need for the town to develop a more formal position on matters such as tax abatements, utility credits, and the like, something necessary for any potential industrial development here.

Munroe acknowledged the discussion related closely to Culver's currently-underway comprehensive plan, though there's a need to develop positions and strategies in the meantime as well.

Kathy Clark, in the audience, told the council that a now-defunct Economic Development Committee in Culver already discussed and drew up possible plans for town positions on Elkay's land and others, in the past. In fact, added audience member Jean Rakich, also a member of the past committee, the Culver Economic Development Committee brought in the Walker-Tenneco company to occupy the building currently used by Elkay.

Clark suggested the council review the committee's document. A work session was scheduled for May 28 to discuss the matter.

In other discussion, Culver park superintendent Kelly Young updated the council on the condition of the recently-installed public pier near the lighthouse in the park, part of which was knocked loose and left underwater after a storm. She noted the installer and manufacturer both assured her the issue would be resolved in short order.

"I think we will end up with a product we had hoped for and the board had voted on," she added.

Also on the docket was George Duncan, representing the Center for Culver History museum committee, which plans to relocate in Culver later this year in combination with a Culver Visitor's Center. Duncan discussed the natural fit for combining the museum and visitor's center and overlap between the missions of the two, discussing also a grant-funded walking tour of local historical sites the museum is undertaking as an example of that overlap.

Duncan, accompanied by museum director Greg Waksmulski, requested a work session with the council in hopes of gleaning members' input. That work session was scheduled for May 14 at 5 p.m.

Also addressing the council was Cory Monnier site director at the Culver Boys & Girls Club, which the council helps underwrite each year. Monnier explained he was there to thank the town for its "support of the youth of Culver," noting membership in the club will likely surpass 300 this year, and some 90 youngsters per day are served there. He also lauded the efforts of tutoring volunteers like Melva Githens, wife of council member and CBGC board member Bill Githens, for making the free tutoring program at the club a success.

Monnier added the club is "really, truly needed," pointing out 26 percent of its members come from single-parent households and 53 percent from low-income families.

Among council actions was the appointment of George Duncan to the Board of Zoning Appeals, a formal proclamation of the town's observation of May 12 through 18 as National Nursing Home Week, $2,388 for sludge pumping motors in the sewer plant, $1,770 for a hydro excavation kit for the town's vactor truck (to aid in cutting roots and other blockages when digging), $1,884 for 11 new fire extinguishers to replace outdated ones at the Culver fire department, $1,123 to Culver Marina for a new boat cover for the fire department's rescue boat, $3,169.70 for two new pairs of fire gloves for every department member as well as grass fire fighting brooms, as requested by fire chief Terry Wakefield.

Town manager Schoeff noted bids will be opened May 14 for the sale of Culver's grass fire truck, and explained the week of May 1, weather permitting, the Reith Reilly company will mill and repave Main Street in the downtown area. The new street and stop signs in the downtown area, also part of the downtown revitalization program, have been installed, it was noted.

During his report, town attorney Jim Clevenger said a complaint was filed in court April 11, with a preliminary hearing May 10 in Marshall Circuit Court, against Hoosier Holdings LLC, regarding cleanup of a property on the west side of State Road 17, just south of Culver.