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Public shows support for SCS decision to create new preschool

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

The Shelbyville Central Schools board met with nothing but positive comments during Tuesday’s public hearing for the purchase of the Marsh Supermarket building.

Five community members spoke in support of the purchase, which will allow the school corporation to renovate the building and turn it into both a preschool facility and administration building.

Terry James spoke first and said he was impressed with two units of government working together to solve a problem, meaning an abandoned building that became an eyesore in the community after the Marsh store closed in 2011.

“I commend you for what you’ve done,” he said. “I think there’s nothing but positives. I’m sure there are negatives out there. I couldn’t find any.”

Martin Zinzer, a property owner south of the location, said he used to own that property. He informed the board that behind the loading dock is a dry retention pond that runs from his property.

“I don’t think I’ll be affected but that’s something that will be changed a little bit,” he told the board. “I think it’s great because I’ve hated to see that empty place for so long.”

The hearing was not a time for board members to respond to public comments – it was simply a time for the public to express its opinion.

Rachel Todd, the Shelbyville Central Teacher Association president and a kindergarten teacher at Hendricks Elementary said the teachers are excited about the project, saying they were “100 percent” behind it.

“As a kindergarten teacher, we are very, very excited to see what’s going to happen so that our kiddos are going to get this awesome support that they need so that when they come into our classrooms, they are ready to go,” she said. “I cannot wait to see what’s going to happen, so thank you so much for starting this project.”

James called the purchase of the building for $1 million “a real bargain in today’s dollars.”

And he noted that the city benefits from no longer having an empty building sitting there.

“The great thing I see about this is the intersection of Amos Road and Broadway now has something going on there,” he said. “It’s no longer a desolate, empty place and for that, I’m grateful.”

Ron McDaniels, a former property owner who currently owns an office in that area also expressed his approval despite additional traffic that the preschool will create.

“That doesn’t matter,” he told the board. “I still think it’s a great idea. So full speed ahead.”

Superintendent Dr. David Adams was pleased with the response from the community, saying there are no guarantees when the discussion turns to tax dollars. He reiterated that taxes are not expected to be raised because the corporation will have debt coming off and should in fact decrease over time.

“That’s why we always make a concerted effort to try to keep our taxes what we call tax-neutral,” he said after the meeting. “Before we do anything, we try to let some debt go off or try to shape it so that it doesn’t raise peoples taxes, because no one likes paying more taxes.”

He said the reaction in recent weeks since the news broke about the purchase has all been positive.

“We spent a lot of time planning this, and trying to be organized and do what we think is right for the community and try to partner with the community,” he said. “It really was just good people saw what we’re trying to do and see the benefit of what we’re trying to do.”