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Historic structure can't be saved


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Indiana Landmarks had hoped to save and relocate the house at 218 N. State St. However, Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell said he didn't want to further delay the Potts Ditch project. (File photo)
Indiana Landmarks had hoped to save and relocate the house at 218 N. State St. However, Greenfield Mayor Chuck Fewell said he didn't want to further delay the Potts Ditch project. (File photo)


GREENFIELD — A historic home in downtown Greenfield is scheduled be demolished, despite a preservation organization’s eleventh-hour attempt to salvage it.

The fate of the house at 218 N. State St. is due in part to a lack of early communication between the city and Indiana Landmarks, the Indianapolis-based nonprofit that attempted to intervene with the city’s plans to tear down the structure.

When the city purchased the building to raze to make way for the Potts Ditch construction project, an agreement was made to allow the former owner to strip materials from inside before the building came down, city planning director Joanie Fitzwater said. But that information was never passed along to Indiana Landmarks, which only recently expressed interest in relocating the structure.

“I think once the house was stripped that the value of moving it was seriously compromised,” Fitzwater said. “Everything on the inside is gone.”

Fitzwater had appealed to the Greenfield Board of Works and Public Safety last month on behalf of Indiana Landmarks, which sought to move the property to spare it from being one of a half dozen houses scheduled to be torn down as part of the upcoming Potts Ditch relocation.

Fitzwater told the board the organization would foot the bill to move the house, but accomplishing the task seemed unlikely from the outset. Relocating the house would have required a variety of steps, including moving utility lines, not to mention securing an empty lot upon which to place the home.

City officials expressed concern that the undertaking could further delay the relocation of Potts Ditch, an 18-month project whose groundbreaking has already been moved once, from June to July.

“It was just too much to accomplish in a short amount of time, I think,” Fitzwater said. “But God love ’em for trying.”

Mayor Chuck Fewell said he supports historic preservation, but he didn’t want to delay the Potts Ditch project further to accommodate moving the home.

“I think it’s very important to do those type things; unfortunately, the conversations didn’t originate soon enough to make that happen,” he said.

The demolition of the homes being torn down to make way for the Potts Ditch project has not yet been scheduled but is expected to occur in the coming weeks, city engineer Karla Vincent said.

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