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Topeka is ‘on the grow’ again

Topeka is getting ready to grow again. With nearly all of the available industrial zoned land sold, the town has taken the step of buying a 50-acre parcel that formerly housed the Starcraft Industrial Complex at the southwest corner of town.

“Our plan is to move the fire station to one of the existing buildings on the property,” said Yvonne Eash, president of the Topeka Town Board. She indicated that other buildings on the property will be torn down.

“We have had numerous approaches from people with plans to build in town,” she said. “Most have had a ‘wait and see’ approach and are waiting to see what the town is going to do,” she continued.

Topeka is not standing still. Town Attorney Bill Eberhard appeared at the county commissioners meeting Monday morning and requested that 40 acres on the southwest corner of SR 5 and CR 700S be rezoned to I-2.

He explained that this corner had been zoned B-3 in 1973 and that there has been changes since then. There are two businesses located in the plot of ground that were granted land use variances to be located on the B-3 zoned land.

The property has attracted interest from others who would require an I-2 zoning including an inquiry for a three-acre parcel and a 10-acre parcel. If these two prospects materialize, the town will have only 10 acres left available. (There is a four-acre water retention area and the two existing businesses take up the rest of the land.)

Other commissioner business included approval of upgrading the tires on the truck purchased in February for the building department to mud and snow tires at a cost of $150. An approval was also given for Jason Boggs to attend a residential code school in Brownsburg, Ind., on March 13.

A $120,000-plus contract was sign with Carr Company from Iowa for the courthouse renovation project. The renovation will address the brick and mortar portion of the building and the stone foundation.

Sheriff Terry Martin reported the three Dodge Charger police vehicles ordered for 2013 have been delivered. “We order off the state contract at the first of the year and it usually takes four or five months for delivery,” he reported. “This year they were quick, less than two months.”

The contract to purchase electronic pollbooks was approved. It was noted by Commissioner Garry Heller that all of the voting places would need to have high-speed internet access. “That will be a detail for the election board to look into,” he stated.

Commissioners noted that the quotes for insurance will be discussed and decided at the March 17 meeting.