Plant sale to be part of Garden & Arts Tour

When you step onto the grounds of the Lew Wallace Study, you feel as though you’ve stepped back into the slower pace of 19th century America. On June 25, the Flower Lover’s Garden Club will have its biannual Garden & Arts Tour with these beautiful, shady grounds as one of seven stops on the tour. 

Along with touring the grounds, there will be a plant sale. Many perennials will be available to purchase along with houseplants, annuals and herbs. One does need not be on the tour to purchase plants. The tour will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine.

Tickets may be purchased for $10, (children 12 and younger free) at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, Milligan’s Flowers, Pro Green Garden Center, Davidson’s Greenhouse, Country Hearts and Flowers or the Montgomery County Visitors Bureau. Maps and descriptions of the gardens, crafters, and musicians are included on the ticket.

Lew Wallace, author of the novel, Ben Hur, built the study to have a quiet place to write. Deb King, curator, said that it was also his wife, Susan, who requested his absence and relief from his pipe smoke. Among his many hobbies, Lew liked to fish in the moat that surrounded the study. He eventually removed it and planted The Mote Garden, for his children’s safety.

Plantings are all true to this period in history featuring a variety of hostas, ligularia, butterbur and lilies among several perennials. In the northwest corner are the Ben Hur Beeches, a grove of trees, named after the famous novel along with several Chinese gingkoes and paw paw trees that bear a fruit similar to the banana. Trees are labeled, a gift from Flower Lovers, and are often used by students for projects.

In 2007, the Lew Wallace Study and Museum, started its Adopt-a-Spot Program. This allows anyone who would like a garden plot in memory of a loved one or to advertise a business, to partner with the museum in maintaining these beautiful, historical grounds. No maintenance required. Other points of interest are the Carriage House; Little Free Library, a miniature replica of the study; and the original stone wall.

Don’t miss the Garden and Arts Tour which features music and art along with seven lovely gardens.

Harley rider keeps rescue dog close

Local resident Todd Neal often can be seen touring the area on his Harley- Davidson motorcycle. At first glance he looks like any motorcycle rider going down the street, until you look closer at the front of his shirt.

Neal rides his motorcycle with his dog. His buddy can be seen riding in a pouch secured by a harness to Neal’s chest. A closer look reveals the dog also is wearing motorcycle goggles and obviously enjoying the ride.

“Bear loves riding around with me,” Neal said. “He goes nuts when I pick up the harness and he is ready to go.”

Neal rescued the small dog last year during the winter. The very sick dog was found hunkered down in a neighbor’s yard. Instead of ignoring the dog or calling the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County, Neal went to the dog’s aid.

“I found the dog shivering, thirsty and malnurished,” Neal said. “I took him to the vet the next day and found he had all kinds of varmits living on him. He was pretty sick.”

With the help of the veterinerian and a loving new home, Bear became healthy again. Neal and the dog are now best friends. Bear insists on staying close to his owner, especially when Neal gets ready to ride the Harley-Davidson.

“We get some funny looks from people when we are out on the road,” Neal said. “Bear loves every second of it and he gets a lot of attention. It is fun for both of us.”

Board OKs more mowings

Crawfordsville code enforcement officer Barry Lewis received approval at Wednesday’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting to mow three more yards. 

Two of the three properties will be mowed by city street department workers for the second time this season and one property will receive a first mowing.

The two repeat mowings are at 701 E. College St. and 508 John St. Both properties are owned by Indianapolis-based Sustainable Solutions. 

Lewis said the city has mowed these properties in past years and expects to all season long at $150 per mowing. 

Amy Cating of the clerk’s office said Sustainable Solutions has not paid the city for mowing. Several liens have been placed onto the company’s tax statement. 

When the company pays its taxes, it has been reimbursing the city for the work, including lien filing fees. 

A third property at 1410 W. Main St., owned by Martha Seymour, will be mowed for the first time this season if not taken care of by the end of the week.

The city recently acquired the PNC Bank building to convert it into Fusion 54, a Stellar project. With the purchase, the city will now start paying Marilyn Asher for janitorial services. 

Mayor Todd Barton said the third floor of the bank building is now empty as the previous owner, TPI, Inc., vacated its space and moved out of the downtown area. 

Barton told Crawfordsville Common Council committee members on  Monday he expects the remaining tenants, except for PNC, to be moving by the end of the year.

Street commissioner Scott Hesler reported city residents have until Sunday to get their storm debris to the curbside for Monday pickup.

In other business the BOW:

• Approved a Crawfordsville Fire Department probationary firefighter manual aimed to standardize training for new personnel.

• Granted the closing of Green Street between Main and Market streets from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday for the CFD Cancer Benefit Motorcycle Ride.

City secures key real estate for Fusion 54

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton announced Monday that the city closed on a key piece of real estate critical in advancing their Stellar centerpiece project — Fusion 54.

Designed to “fuse” together entities focused on growing Crawfordsville and Montgomery County, the Fusion 54 facility will create unmatched levels of collaboration and synergy through co-location of a number of stakeholder organizations. To date, those participating groups include: economic development, Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Crawfordsville Main Street, Montgomery County Leadership Academy, Montgomery County Visitors & Convention Bureau and Wabash College.

The property formerly known as the Elston building at 101 W. Main St. and is a four-story, 24,000 square foot building. Unique features will include 6,000 square feet of co-working space and most exciting is the partnership with Wabash College. They plan to occupy 6,000 square feet for their Center for Innovation, Business & Entrepreneurship, as well as a creative space for their Arts and Liberal Arts Plus Initiatives. Finally, PNC Bank will remain as a tenant on the first floor.

“Redefining our downtown with this anchor amenity is just part of the overall transformation we have undertaken to make our city more attractive to young professionals, families and businesses alike,” Barton said.

In addition to Fusion 54, other Stellar plans are making progress like the Downtown Trail, Pike Place and the former Ben Hur building adaptive reuse project.

Work is expected to begin on the Fusion 54 facility over the next couple of months and will be completed in early 2018.

Elmore facility to get face-lift

On Monday, Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton reported to the city’s Fiscal Affairs Committee of the Common Council that it is time to move some funds from an unused Civil Service fund to a new fund. 

The monies are to be used to pay for renovating the recently acquired Elmore Street facility. The building was purchased in 2016 and the mayor is ready to start work on it to make it usable.

Montgomery County Emergency Management will move into the building and vacate its present location in the basement of the City Building. The warehouse facility has not been updated for several years, Barton said, and EMA is ready to move as soon as possible.

The new facility will house the EMA offices and give them plenty of space to store equipment and other items.

Several entities are expected to use the facility. The city street department already is storing equipment there, as is the city police and fire departments.

Barton is talking with county officials about sharing  the large warehouse space. They are trying to determine the share of utility costs and other expenses.

Funds for the renovation will originate from the Civil Defense Fund which no longer accumulates new tax money. Approximately $200,000 has been in the fund for some time and the mayor believes the monies will be best used to renovate the Elmore Street building.

Barton’s request was passed onto the full council with a favorable decision.

The Fiscal Affairs committee approved a new fund for monies to be received for the recently acquired PNC Building which will become Fusion 54. Barton said the fund will provide a full disclosure account that will be used to deposit income for the building as well as expenses paid.

PNC Bank will be paying a lease payment to stay on the first floor of the building. Barton said the PNC payment will pay utilities and help with general maintenance expenses for the entire building.

Barton expects remaining tenants in the building will move out within the calendar year.

The Traffic, Parking and Safety Committee passed along to the Common Council a favorable recommendation for two yield signs. One sign will be placed at the intersection of  Copperfield Drive and Ashton Drive and one sign will be placed at the intersection of Shadow Wood Drive and Ashton Drive.