Downtown North Judson Building Demolition Delayed by Legal Action

The demolition of a Downtown North Judson building appears to be on hold.

Town Attorney Justin Schramm told the town council Monday the owner of 205 and 207 Lane Street wants to retrieve his personal property from inside the building. “But our position from day one has been that building was unsafe,” Schramm explained. “Nobody’s going into that property unless it’s a contractor that’s going to tear the place down.” So to get his stuff back, the owner has filed a replevin action in Starke Circuit Court.

Schramm said that when the town bid the demolition project, it specified that the contractor could dispose the building’s contents, along with the rest of the debris. Since those specifications could change depending on the court decision, Schramm asked the town council to simply reject the seven bids the town received and rebid the project once the specifications are known. “What I want to avoid doing is since there is personal property in there that the current owner is saying is of a lot of value, I don’t want us to destroy all of that and the town’s on the hook for whatever is in there because we can’t prove what it was actually worth,” he said.

At the same time, the town may also make a few other updates to the demolition specifications. One potential contractor pointed out the current specifications lack some of the features typically required by the state. These include notification of the Indiana Department of Environment Management and the completion of an environmental study to locate potential asbestos in the property.

The North Judson Town Council voted unanimously to reject the current bids.