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Making room for a dinosaur homecoming

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Plans to make room for a dinosaur homecoming of sorts continue at Sulphur Springs – one big footprint at a time.

Tuesday night, town board president William Dittlinger and member Don Swoveland each provided updates on the town’s quest to attract a Sinclair gas station/convenience store, the brand with the big green dinosaur that was once a fixture here. From setting up an official bank account for community donations for a land purchase to testing that land, progress continues.

Dittlinger said a fund is being set up at Citizens State Bank for donations needed to purchase the ground. Cost of the property is $11,000. Dittlinger said an anonymous donor has offered to match all donations dollar-for-dollar, meaning that only $5,500 needs to be raised.

More details on how to donate will be announced soon.

Meanwhile, Swoveland said he had talked to New Castle-Henry County Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Corey Murphy, who confirmed a proposed gas station site should be done by the end of this week or first of next week. The site is located on the north side of U.S. 36 in a field just east of the Metal Arts building. Officials already have a purchase agreement ready to go with the landowner, who has made a generous offer to help the town.

“Corey did say that from talking to the guy writing the report, we may have to do Phase 2 testing,” Swoveland said. “They (the EDC) still have some grant money left to help us.”

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.

If Midland Oil would put a station here, Walker said the investment would be at least $1 million, maybe $1.2 million.

In other business Tuesday:

• Town Marshal Stacey Guffey discussed problems with junk and/or abandoned cars in town as well as recent animal complaints. Guffey told board members he would check on what the town’s current ordinance says on those issues and get back with them.

• Town Board members agreed to give a local resident who recently was ticketed for parking in a handicapped-only spot six more days to pay a $100 fine plus an $85 towing bill before taking the case to court.

• Guffey announced a new town website is ready for use. The website – www.sulphursprings.in.org – has been redesigned and will be more user friendly.

• Town Council members agreed to renew an extended warranty on the police car, if it can be purchased for less than $2,000.