North Judson Block Closed Pending Monday Unsafe Building Hearing

A block of the North Judson business district is closed until at least Monday morning after part of a building previously declared unsafe by the town council fell in. Town attorney Justin Schramm says an emergency hearing on the fate of the structure at 205 and 207 Lane Street will take place Monday morning at 8 a.m. EDT in Winamac. Special Judge Michael Shurn of Pulaski County will hear the case. Starke Circuit Judge Kim Hall recused himself due to a conflict of interest.

The town council met in emergency session Thursday evening and authorized Schramm to file a complaint in Starke Circuit Court saying the building poses an “immediate danger to the health and safety of the surrounding community.”

A judge’s ruling in the town’s favor would allow them to tear the building down as soon as possible without going through the required bid process.

Until the building can be torn down, part of the 200 block of Lane Street is closed. However access to businesses on the street is maintained.

The town had planned to apply for a blight elimination grant from Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to offset the cost of removing the building. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says there’s enough money in the town’s Economic Development Income Tax and Cumulative Capital funds to cover the cost of the work. However, Schramm also plans to take legal action requesting that the property owner be responsible for reimbursing the town.

The town council had previously taken steps to demolish the structure, but the project was delayed when the owner took legal action to retrieve his personal property from inside the building.