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Timeline of old jail demolition

The former Brown County Jail, which was connected to the Brown County Courthouse, was demolished in December 2010, after sitting empty and abandoned in the center of town for five years. Here's a look back at the events leading up to its disposal.

Dec. 2, 2009: At a joint governmental meeting, the Brown County Board of Commissioners, county council, school board and Nashville Town Council renew discussion about the old jail. The building, for several years, had been referred to as blighted and an eyesore in public meetings, but no plan had been formulated to deal with it.

Dec. 10, 2009: Brown County Commissioners President Bill Austin and county council member Cindy Steele tour the old jail at the request of the Brown County Democrat, with reporter-photographers Megan O’Bryan and Tom Lotshaw, who bring video and still cameras. The pictures and footage are made into a virtual tour that is published on www.bcdemocrat.com.

Dec. 16, 2009: The Democrat publishes photos and two stories about the current condition of the old jail, including suggestions from some county leaders on what to do with the building. Sheriff’s department and jail employees also share recollections about the building before the departments moved out in the spring of 2005.

Dec. 23, 2009: The Democrat publishes a two-page spread of opinions and concerns from county leaders about the old jail and the property it occupies. Concerns cover restrooms and parking, tourist traffic, accessibility and space in the courthouse and other county buildings, emergency management needs and nearby development by the historical society. Conceptual drawings done in the spring of 2009 for a possible courthouse addition on the site also are included.

Dec. 23, 2009: The commissioners set a date to decide the fate of the old jail: March 31, 2010.

Feb. 17, 2010: Brown County Council member Cindy Steele, at a council meeting, announces the results of an Indiana State Department of Health mold test inside the old jail, showing counts from 11-16 times higher than outdoors. Guidelines are that counts should be lower indoors than outdoors. Fellow council members are polled on what should be done with the building. All councilmen present say the commissioners need to at least clean it up, and probably should do a study on how much remodeling or razing it would cost. Two of them lean toward tearing it down.

Feb. 24, 2010: The commissioners publish a request for proposals for renovation firms to evaluate the old jail and sheriff’s residence, identify their defects and all of the steps needed to correct them, and suggest what course of action would be in the best interest of the county.

March 3, 2010: The commissioners open RFPs from two companies: Charles C. Brandt and First Response Services Inc. The board talks about possibly having a "scavenging day" for county departments to claim items left behind in the building.

March 17, 2010: The commissioners, at a meeting to choose a firm to do the jail evaluation, discuss whether or not they need to spend $10,000 to evaluate the property at all. Commissioners Darrell Kent and Mary Fouch advocated tearing the jail down, but, eventually the contract was awarded to Brandt on a 2-1 vote, with Kent against. "We’ve got to do something to get some facts," Austin says, explaining the expenditure. Also at that meeting, Doug Harden with Steve Miller Architects proposes a space study of the county’s buildings and parking and current and future needs. It would take 30 days to complete and cost $7,500.

April 1, 2010: Austin and Fouch talk with The Democrat about the fact that a similar study of the old jail property had already been done, in 2006. Local builder and former reserve deputy Lamond Martin said he shared it with the board. Austin says the information in the report "possibly would save us some money," but it didn’t sufficiently answer his main questions, about asbestos and mold presence, cost or recommendation on what to do with the buildings. The new study is still on.

April 21, 2010: Brandt representative Bill Freeman presents six options to the commissioners in dealing with the old jail, all of them with cost estimates. They include renovating the building for office space or storage space; demolishing both buildings and building something new; or demolishing them, filling the basement and seeding the lot. "We have come to the conclusion that it is certainly not cost effective to keep the jail structures," Freeman said. "… We just can’t find a good reason to keep it." The commissioners decide to gather information on how much the county is paying on rent for various offices before making a decision.

May 5, 2010: The board votes 3-0 for demolition. The cost estimate from Brandt is $120,000. The board learns that the county is paying about $100,000 in rent per year for five offices. Members do not vote to make plans for the site.

Summer 2010: The county council approves a $120,000 budget for demolition.

Aug. 16, 2010: The county council, during 2011 budget hearings, approves a $500,000 line item for a "courthouse addition." It is described as a placeholder of sorts, in case the county should decide to build.

Aug. 25, 2010: The commissioners publish an RFP for demolition of the old jail and sheriff’s residence.

Sept. 8, 2010: County Resource Manager Mike Thompson reveals that contractors had several questions that weren’t addressed in the RFP, including what to do with an air conditioning unit that sits atop the jail but still supplies air to the courthouse; what should happen to the courthouse wall that would be exposed once the jail is demolished; and what to do with the stairs leading from the sheriff’s residence onto Van Buren Street.

Sept. 15, 2010: Five demolition bids are opened, ranging from $77,400 to $88,998. The budget is $120,000, but work not listed on the RFP will cost additional money.

Oct. 6, 2010: Denney Excavating of Plainfield is awarded the demolition contract, for $75,200. The tentative start date is Nov. 8. The commissioners vote to not have the company mechanically compact the soil (at a cost of $2,200), but to have the site restored to a state that would allow it to be used as a park or green space.

Oct. 19, 2010: Nashville’s Development Review Commission expresses concern about the demolition of the old sheriff’s residence, because it is of an uncommon architectural style. It asks the county to consider preserving the house’s façade, or at least document the buildings in pictures for historical records.

Nov. 3, 2010: Demolition is delayed a week because the Indiana Department of Environmental Management needs a study of possible asbestos-containing materials in the building, County Resource Manager Mike Thompson tells The Democrat. The demolition notice that Denney submitted to the state wasn’t complete, IDEM reports. Thompson predicts a new demo date of Nov. 15.

Nov. 8, 2010: The demo date moves again, to Nov. 22, because testing is still under way and Denney had not secured the permits from IDEM.

Nov. 22, 2010: Demolition begins.

Source: Brown County Democrat archives

Obituaries
See Full List »

Carol Ann Spencer-Thomas, 73, Brown County
  Wife of Charles R. Thomas of Brown County

Robert 'Bob' F. Melton, 80, Brown County
  Husband of Annabelle Melton of Brown County

The Rev. John S. Honeay, 89, Greenwood
  Member of Unity Baptist Church and father of Barbara Ranard (Harvey) of Brown County

  • January 31
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • January 31
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • January 31
    Live band at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • January 31
    'Wild' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • January 31
    'Psycho' party at the Playhouse
    7:30 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 1
    'Wild' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 2
    Gnaw Bone Sewage District
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 3
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 3
    Open 12-step meetings in New Bellsville area
    6 to 7 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 3
    Bean Blossom Regional Sewer Board
    7:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 3
    Women's Bible study offered
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 4
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District annual meeting
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville
  • February 4
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 4
    Van Buren Township Advisory Board
    7 p.m. Van Buren trustee's office, 4748 Christianburg Road
  • February 4
    BC Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance Base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • February 5
    Go Club meeting Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 5
    Jackson Township Board
    6 p.m. Jackson Fire Station, 4831 Helmsburg Road
  • February 6
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 7
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 7
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • February 7
    Karaoke at sports bar
    8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 7
    Cabin Fever Concert features local music
    7 to midnight The Seasons Lodge, 560 State Road 46 East
  • February 9
    Washington Township Trustees
    7 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • February 9
    Reservation deadline for Valentine's tea at local shop
    Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • February 10
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 10
    Van Buren Fire Department
    6 p.m. Van Buren Fire Station, 4040 State Road 135 South
  • February 10
    Peaceful Valley Heritage Preservation Society meeting set
    6:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    BC Genealogical Society meeting slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 11
    East Hill Cemetery meeting slated
    7 p.m. Morgantown Community Center, 269 W. Washington St.
  • February 12
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 13
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North.
  • February 13
    Daddy-daughter Valentine's dance Friday the 13th
    6:30 p.m. Sweetea's Tea Shop, 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Coachlight Square
  • February 14
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • February 17
    Hamblen Trustee Board annual review
    6:30 p.m. 2314 Hickory Ridge Lane off Hornettown Road
  • February 19
    Woodlands project dinner, meeting slated
    6 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • February 20
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • March 7
    Meet 'Wilderness Plots' author at the library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 8
    'Wilderness Plots'-themed concert planned
    4 p.m. BCHS, 235 School House Lane
  • March 8
    Brown County bridal tour slated
    10 a.m. to 6 p.m. various locations
  • March 10
    Soil & water conservation district to celebrate 62 years
    6 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • March 21
    Venders needed for Jackson TFD yard sale
    8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jackson Township Fire Department, 4831 Helmsburg Road
  • April 26
    County history center dedication slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould