Winona Lake considering purchase of Collier’s property

The town of Winona Lake is looking to purchase the Collier’s Heating & Cooling property at 2499 E. Winona Ave.

The property is at the intersection of Argonne Road, Winona Avenue and Kings Highway where the town has been looking to put a roundabout for a number of years.

Tuesday evening, the town council approved a resolution making it known the town was interested in buying the property and that it would get the property appraised.

Council President Bruce Shaffner said Collier’s is going to be relocating “and that parcel is going to be needed for the upcoming roundabout when that takes place.”

Town Coordinator Craig  Allebach said when the town applied for a state grant for the roundabout a couple of years ago, it realized it would probably need the Collier’s property as well as a sliver of the property across the street from where a gas station used to be.

“We were probably a few years out from actually contacting Collier’s for negotiations of purchasing that property and actually relocating so I’ve actually been working on things for a couple of years, talks, trying to decide what would be a good location so it would be a win-win for everybody. I got a call a couple of weeks ago that Collier’s is interested in selling that parcel, so that worked out well. We were probably four to five years out from that negotiation, so this is an opportunity where we can do it on their timetable and they offered that they would like to sell the town the property,” he explained.

Allebach said the town had to get the average of two appraisals and that’s in the works. Once the appraisals are completed, which he said was about a month out, the town will be able to start negotiations with Collier’s on the purchase of the property.

As far as Collier’s timeline to be out of that building, he said the sale could be closed as early as November. In the meantime, Collier’s will be there, but then move part of its operation after the sale closes. The Fireplace Shoppe will remain there until sometime in the spring.

“I think everything is kind of going to fall into place,” he said, noting all of Collier’s questions were answered to their satisfaction.

Allebach said the funds are committed to purchase the property not only from the town council but also the redevelopment commission. One or the other body would buy it or they will split the cost.

He said he still hasn’t received a response yet from the owner of the other parcel the town needs for the roundabout. If possible, Allebach said he’d like to get the two properties appraised simultaneously.

Later in the meeting, the council approved a notice to proceed on the design for the roundabout.

Allebach said the town received a letter from the Indiana Department of Transportation on Aug. 7 authorizing the purchase order for the design of the roundabout for $279,672.

Councilwoman Tecy Banta asked where the money was coming from. Allebach replied that 80 percent comes from the state and the remaining 20 percent is from a combination of the Economic Development Income Tax fund and the Redevelopment Commission.