Commissioners discuss county home

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
This old barber chair from Koken Barber Supply Co. in St. Louis is housed on the second floor of the old County Home and may soon be up for auction.

GREENCASTLE -- The recently closed Putnam County Home, "Green Acres" remains a hot topic for Putnam County Commissioners. The home, which closed last month, remains an enigma for the county.

The current plan is to auction off items in the building as well as land parcels surrounding the building. What to do with the building itself is still a puzzle.

"We need people to give us their ideas," said Commissioner Jim Baird. "We're getting down to the wire here and need to hear what people think can be done with it."

Earlier this year, the commissioners cited budget constraints and just five residents as factors in their decision to close the 140-year-old facility.

Commissioners were presented with two bids for auctioneer services for items at the home. They are trying to determine a possible date and are still accepting auctioneer bids.

"I'd like to get some other bids besides these two," said Baird.

County Planner Kim Hyten heads a group that has been inventorying all the items in the home.

The Putnam County Jail received most of the food items that were still at the home, with the Emergency Operations Center also receiving a few items.

Non-food items such as cleaning supplies, refrigerators and paper products were disbursed to the County Annex and Courthouse, in addition to the EOC and jail.

Additionally, a long list of all furniture, electric items, dishes and other non-food items has been put together with the intention of auctioning them off in the near future.

Representatives from the Putnam County Museum presented a list of items they feel have "historic" value and should be preserved and displayed at the museum.

These items included an old Koken Barber's Supply chair, signs with the facility's name on them, an old Royal typewriter, the old dinner bell and some of the State Farm hickory furniture.

"We think these things should be preserved. They have historic value and we can have a display at the museum," said Mavis Broadstreet, past board member at the museum.

"I remember going out to the county home when I was a young girl and that barber chair was always there," she recalled. "These items are important to the history of the county. We'd like to have them."

Baird joked with Broadstreet, saying he would like to give the home to the museum.

"We can't afford it," retorted Broadstreet good-naturedly.

Phil Gick, President of the Heritage Preservation Society, also spoke to commissioners offering the organization's help in finding ways to preserve the old home.

These old doors still lock. They are part of the old county jail that once was housed at the county home. It is believed to be the oldest jail in the county.

Gick told commissioners there might be grant money available to do a study on what kinds of things could be done with the home. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of the building by keeping things like baseboards, doors and doorknobs in place in the building.

"It's important to keep some acreage with the building as well," he said.

Gick also offered the organization's services in helping have Indiana Historic Landmarks advertise the building.

Hyten told the Banner Graphic he believes at least four acres will remain with the building because of septic and maintenance issues. The rest of the acreage will be parceled and probably sold.

Hyten also suggested commissioners might want to talk with Putnam County Sheriff Steve Fenwick about possibly moving the jail annex at the home to somewhere near the new jail.

"We believe it is the first jail operated in the county," said Hyten. "Maybe some club or organization could help find a way to move it."

Some suggested uses for the home received by the Banner Graphic have included using it as an eastside Greencastle Fire Department, future location of the courthouse annex, future site for ResCare, a community youth center and a Bed and Breakfast.

"Approximate cost to tear down the building is at least $75,000. Renovations to the building would probably cost $100,000 with $4,000 right off for a new boiler system," said Hyten.

Commissioners want to get the plans for the facility finalized. They took bids for the auction of items under consideration along with the museum's request for items.

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  • I think giving this home over to the Putnam County Museum a great idea. What a neat place to house the history of Putnam County...Why wouldn't that work? Everything should stay intact including the jail annex.

    -- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 6:10 AM
  • Please don't tear down this historic building. Find a way to preserve it. These old buildings are precious. I still miss the old Jr High School gym which is now a parking lot. That building should have been preserved and used as well.

    -- Posted by just a local on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 6:41 AM
  • there "Might" be a grant for a study on what to do with the place. Come on people. You have a whole county here. If you can't figure this one out shame on all of us. Remove the jail portion and move it? That's part of the building. You want to get rid of it then get rid of it. Sell it like it is. Maybe some of the rest of us would like to bid on this furniture also. Most of us knew what was out there anyway, why is the museum just now asking for it? And for god's sake where in the hell would they put all of this stuff. The furniture (state farm) can be found at most auctions, so don't give me it has that much historical value. Bids for auctioneer services!! Pick one, and get it over with. The Commissioners along with Kim Hyten are dragging this out. Make a decision, and move on. What is so hard about that? If the county needs the money, sell it all, play no favorites. If an organization wants it then let them buy it. Besides, the way I look at it, it's all mine anyway. I've already paid for it Once! with my taxes.

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 7:09 AM
  • The home is an Albatros. Sell it along with the property and the contents to the highest bidder. Give the museum a few of the items for posterity. Up keep and utilities are what pushed out the home residents to begin with.

    -- Posted by hardtobelieve on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 7:24 AM
  • I was astonished when I learned of the cost to live at the "County Home". It is no wonder that people who were "poor" could not afford to live there. What difference does it make, if we pay to put more residence in the "County Home" or we pay for their upkeep and provide them private homes. Many "poor" people who live on our tax dollars are still providing themselves their alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, munchies, etc. Some of the middle class working people can't afford these items. I have worked in a supermarket and I do know what people purchase with Food Stamps and what they are willing to use their cash on!!! The county home should be for homeless people. The Away Shelter has some rules that kind of defeat the purpose of people being homeless but are still willing to work. It is not easy to be able to leave the homeless shelter in order to go to work. Return the county home to it's original purpose. Get tax incentives and jail laborers to do the repairs.

    -- Posted by Taxpayer5253 on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 9:44 AM
  • Amen! Taxpayer5253. You said it all.

    -- Posted by whodouthinkur on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 1:12 PM
  • Where will we vote now?

    -- Posted by luv2bmom2001 on Wed, Sep 9, 2009, at 2:39 PM
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