HEBRON | Reaping almost $600,000 from the sale of the use of its water tower and of a cellphone tower on town property made last year a profitable year for Hebron.
The money from the deal with Crown Castle is slated to boost the town's rainy day fund to provide a further financial cushion against the as-yet-unknown impact of the property tax caps and the continued sluggish economy. So far the town has been able to avoid borrowing money to pay its bills.
"I'm very happy the town is not in the position many towns and cities are in," said Don Ensign, council president. "We don't have the extra money to go out and do the paving we need done and some of the other extras, but we're not broke. (Clerk-Treasurer Terri Waywood) has done a good job, and she keeps us in line."
The end of 2012 brought good business news for Hebron. True Value Hardware announced it would open this spring in the Country Square Plaza in the space previously occupied by Coast to Coast. The town has not had a hardware store since Coast to Coast departed more than a decade ago.
Two other businesses plan to open in town early this year. A pet store is coming to a long vacant building in the downtown and a restaurant plans to open near the junior high school.
Ensign said a major drainage project is expected to come off the drawing board and become reality. The town obtained all the easements needed for the Monroe Street project that is expected to relieve flooding problems that have plagued the area for decades. The town hopes to extend the sewer all the way to the Little League fields, both to improve the drainage and to allow restrooms to be installed there instead of using portable toilets.
Although the town still hopes to build a new town center that would include town offices, a community center and a wellness center, Ensign said that probably won't happen this year because of the tax cap uncertainties. The town is waiting to see if the state Legislature will continue funding the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority because it plans to ask for an RDA grant, which Ensign said has the potential to benefit the south county area.
In the meantime, the town began talking recently about building a new clerk-treasurer's office and police station on the site of the old Town Hall. When the town center facility is built, the proposed clerk/police building could remain as the police station or be sold as a possible business location.
The town also hopes to expand the fire station with the help of Redevelopment Commission funds.
"Between all of us, we hope to get that built," he said of the fire station addition. "We had hoped to break ground this year on the town center, but because we had to step back, the first generation might be to build a new building uptown. We will look at all the different options for the near future."