Elkhart to spend more than $10K to clear debris from Armory

Plans are in the works to revitalize Elkhart's old Armory building at 200 North Main Street. The city council agreed Monday to spend more than $10,000 to remove garbage and other debris inside.

The building is eligible for landmark status, but according to the Indiana Landmarks Association, it is not a protected landmark. The city can therefore demolish it if it's determined that it would cost too much to repair.

Whether the city decides to repair or demolish the building, the debris will have to be cleared.

Last month, the city received a grant from the Indiana Landmarks Association to identify the building's major structural issues.

"The biggest issues are the roof. The roof needs some immediate attention," said Barkley Garrett, director of economic development for the city of Elkhart. "The redevelopment commission has authorized about $3,000 for us to patch the roof just to help the roof get through the winter, keep some of the water out, because there's a significant amount of water damage."

The building has been vacant for the past several years and was donated to Elkhart by its previous owner when the city bought two parking lots from the owner.

Engineers have told the city that the building can be saved. The city's Economic Development Commission will hear a report from the ILC on February 12 to find out how much it would cost.

Garrett said he hopes developers with an interest in restoring old buildings will see the building's potential and will step forward.

"We would love to hear from the local community ... folks who have some plans that they can take this building and do something with it," said Garrett. "The city doesn't want to be the long-term owner. We want to get it back into private sector hands as quickly as possible."

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