ANDERSON – There are plans to open a coffee shop and bookstore in downtown Anderson by this fall.

The Anderson City Council Thursday scheduled a public hearing June 11 for a tax abatement request for the former Madison County Community Corrections facility at 940 Main Street.

Kevin Hu said he has purchased the vacant building from local attorney Max Howard with a two-phase plan for the reuse of the facility.

As required, the building has been vacant for at least one year and is eligible for a three-year tax abatement.

The building has an assessed value of $165,600, and Hu plans to hire as many as 16 people with an average wage of $12.85 per hour.

Hu said the first phase of the project will be converting the first floor to a coffee house, restaurant and bookstore.

“There will be a small dining area for breakfast and lunch,” he said.

Hu said the second phase will be the development of the second floor and a drive-up window.

“I want to transform the building in three years,” he said. “It can be turned into a community hub for Anderson and attract young professionals.”

Councilman Rick Muir said the concept is exciting.

“It has been many years since we’ve had a bookstore in downtown Anderson,” he said.

The council also approved the refinancing of three bond issues for the city’s Water Pollution Control Department.

Controller Doug Whitham explained the new $21 million bond would be used pay off three existing bonds.

Whitham said the payoff date for the bond would remain as 2031.

“We will save more than $700,000 by refinancing the bonds at a lower interest rate,” he said. “It’s like refinancing the mortgage on a home.”

Whitham said the current interest rates on the bonds range from 2% to 3.76% and the new interest rate is expected to be between 1.67% and 1.99%.

He said the city would like to sell the bonds in June.

OTHER BUSINESS

The council approved requested tax abatements for new house construction in Anderson.

Deloris Cavanaugh is having a new house constructed in the Apple Downs subdivision on Colt Lane at a cost of $220,565.

She recently retired from a job in Italy in November and is moving to Anderson to be close to her family.

“I’m happy to be moving to Anderson and being a part of the community,” Cavanaugh said.

An abatement was approved for Mariann and Paul Strozier for the construction of a new house valued at $258,000 in Apple Downs on Bluegrass Drive.

Paul Strozier said the couple has lived in Anderson for five years.

“We want to invest in the community,” he said. “We believe in the future of Anderson and Madison County. We looked all over the county and decided this was the right time and right spot.”

The council approved the tax abatement requested by Mustin Builders for a planned duplex at 123 Asbury Drive and 138 Asbury Drive in South Main Village.

The two abatements have a value of $437,510.

Councilman Ollie H. Dixon voted no on the request, raising a concern about parking in the subdivision.

Councilwoman Rebecca Crumes also voted no, stating it was not time for the council to consider tax abatements while the community is dealing with issues from the coronavirus pandemic.

Daphne Holtzleiter with Mustin Builders said at the March council meeting that each unit has a two-car garage and enough space for up to four cars in the driveways.

She said parking was allowed on the street, but no overnight parking is permitted.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.

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