City Hopes NIPSCO Will Help Replace Downtown Lights

Downtown Warsaw isn’t as lighted at night as it should be because some of the street lights have been out for months, and city officials are hoping NIPSCO can help fix the problem.
Council President Mike Klondaris began the discussion Monday night by asking City Planner Jeremy Skinner, “Back in October or November, I submitted a list to his department concerning some street lights that are out downtown and have been out for months. Jeremy, have you been able to get any response from NIPSCO about those lights?”
Skinner replied, “No, we have not. We did submit them.” He said they submitted the list to NIPSCO online at least twice.
“There’s two things. There’s the lights that they control that are on the pole and then there are lights that are on our traffic signal poles. My understanding is NIPSCO used to maintain those lights, if they went out, for us because they had the equipment. They’re no longer doing so,” Skinner said. “It doesn’t really matter whether we ask them to do it or not, they’re our lights and we don’t have the equipment to maintain those lights.”
Councilman Ron Shoemaker asked if there were NIPSCO numbers on the poles. Skinner said they’re lights on top of the traffic signal poles. They’re not NIPSCO poles, but the city’s.
“So we’ll have to figure out a way to do that, whether we find a contractor who can change those lights. So two separate issues: The ones that are out on the traffic signal poles, technically, would be our responsibility. Even though NIPSCO had done it in the past, they’re saying they’re not doing it anymore,” Skinner said.
“But that’s our problem,” Klondaris said, to which Skinner agreed.
“My question was the lights we have submitted. They’re still not working and I have one more to add to the list, and I’d like to have them take care of the lights,” Klondaris said. “Are we still paying the light bill even though the lights aren’t even working?”
Skinner said he assumed the city was, but deferred that to Clerk-Treasurer Lynne Christiansen as he doesn’t pay the light bill.
She said she would have to figure out which lights are on which account to know and there might be more than one light on an account.
“I just want to get the darn lights working because (Councilwoman) Cindy (Dobbins) and I have talked. We’ve had First Fridays come and go and it’s dark out,” Klondaris stated.
Dobbins said, “It’s really dark. There are two intersections that only have one light working.” She later said they’ve been out since the October First Friday.
Mayor Joe Thallemer said if they could get to him the approximate time those lights have been out, he and Skinner would work on the issue. He said he has a government liaison at NIPSCO he can get ahold of to discuss the issue.
Skinner indicated it’s been three or four months the lights have been out and one would think the response time from NIPSCO would be better.
Thallemer told Skinner and Klondaris to get him the information and he would make contact with the liaison.
Klondaris said the new light that is out is on East Center Street by Long John Silver’s.
In other business, the council:
• Approved on first and second reading the rezoning of a parcel from Residential 2 to Commercial 5, per the petition from Kauffman Development LLC. The property is 3.15 acres, at the southeast corner of the Meijer Drive and U.S. 30 intersection, and owned by Jennifer Kauffman.
The property is the last property along that U.S. 30 corridor that was not zoned C5, according to Skinner. Kauffman’s business is the Vein Institute & Medical Spa currently located at 3505 N. Ind. 15, Suite C, Warsaw.
Attorney Richard Helm, speaking on behalf of the petitioner, said, “We’ll be back later with development plans when Jennifer decides exactly where she’s going with the property. It’s likely, as things stand now, it’s going to be designed and redesigned and developed to move her operations to (this property), eventually, in the future, if nothing else, because of space.”
The Plan Commission reviewed the petition at its March 14 meeting and unanimously approved a favorable recommendation to the city council for the property to be rezoned.
• Approved a resolution allowing reimbursed grant dollars from the Kosciusko County Convention, Recreation and Visitors Bureau to go back into the city’s general fund.
“We paid out money to do the disk golf at Lucerne Park. That was a grant that we were getting, a reimbursable grant, that we paid to do the work and now we’re getting reimbursed,” Skinner explained. “So we’re not doing an additional appropriation, we’re not trying to spend the money or anything of that nature. We’re just putting it back into the general fund so it can be spent at a later date.”
The disk golf project was funded 100 percent by the KCCRVB and installed by the Parks Department. The total amount reimbursed was $4,800.
• Entertained questions from Scout Charlie Sexton, of Cub Scout Pack 3730, who is working on getting his Arrow of Light for Webelos. Due to illness, other Scouts were unable to attend the meeting.
He was accompanied by his family, Cub Master Ed Sexton, Webelos Den Leader Amy Sexton and Star Scout Frank Sexton.
Charlie asked where the money comes from to run the city and where does the mayor get to spend it at. Thallemer said most of the money comes from a variety of taxes, while the council explained the money goes to different city departments like police, fire and public works.
• Was reminded that their next meeting was at 5 p.m. April 4.