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Money nearly raised for Sulphur station site

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Sulphur Springs’ dinosaur quest is getting closer to hitting paydirt.

Tuesday night, town board members updated the public on efforts to raise funds for purchase of an acre of farmland alongside U.S. 36 to build a new convenience store / gas station.

A fund-raising effort has been under way to raise money for purchase of the ground. Total cost is $11,000, but an anonymous donor has offered to match contributions. So, $5,500 is the amount needed to be raised.

“We are real close,” Town Board member Kip Jones said. “I think it’s going to happen.”

“We have a tentative plan to put the station in,” Town Board President William Dittlinger added. “We have a list of contractors.”

Donations are still being accepted to purchase the ground, located on the north side of U.S. 36 in a field just east of the Metal Arts building. Donations are being handled by Dickerson Accounting in New Castle. 

In February, a group of Sulphur Springs business owners and community leaders met with Glen Walker, a sales and marketing representative for Midland Oil Corp., expressing sincere and serious interest in attracting a Sinclair Gas Station / Convenience Store here.

If the business attraction dreams come true, it would give some long-time residents a sense of deja vu. The big green dinosaur – a symbol for Sinclair since it started in 1916 – was once in Sulphur Springs and was a fixture here for more than 50 years.

With that new business closer to becoming a reality, town officials discussed the need for – and frustration of – getting new sidewalks along U.S. 36. A new sidewalk leading to the convenience store would be a nice addition and enhance safety, officials said.

Jones said he was disappointed the Indiana Department of Transportation didn’t install new sidewalks along U.S. 36 when they resurfaced it approximately two years ago.

“Ideally that would have been the time to replace the curbs and the sidewalks,” Jones said. “Our sidewalks are a mess.”

Jones said when state officials did resurfacing on Ind. 234 through Kennard, new curbs and sidewalks were installed at the same time.

“I don’t know how we got bypassed there, but we did,” Jones said.

A guest at Tuesday’s meeting, Dave Kieser of Kieser Consulting Group, offered town council members information about future paving needs. He said INDOT provides a 75 percent grant for sidewalks, streets and curbs up to $1 million. He has assisted Mt. Summit, Spiceland, Carthage and Dunreith in addition to Straughn on these grants. He planned to make a pitch also at Springport Tuesday night.

Kieser said his firm would help the town with a five-year asset management plan, something he said was a requirement to get INDOT funds for the projects.

Town board members said they would consider his offer.

In other business:

n Town board members discussed the idea of having another fireman’s appreciation dinner at the Sulphur Springs Christian Church. “This community needs to let the members know they appreciate them,” Dittlinger said. Plans call for the event to be held on a Saturday this time around, so as not to conflict with Indianapolis Colts fans.

n Board members said they were still looking for people to serve on the election board. One Democrat and one Republican are needed.

n Board members learned the Sulphur Springs Police Department would participate in Saturday’s Spiceland Freedom Days Parade.