The former Sportsman’s Bar and Grill has been purchased, and plans are now in the works to make the site of value to the Monterey community.
The building location collapsed in April of last year, prompting health and safety concerns in the town. Difficulty was experienced communicating with the owner of the property, but it was recently learned a deed transfer was executed in late May of this year, according to property records.
The new owner, William Sturgeon, says he purchased the site to help the surrounding neighborhoods.
“I saw there was nothing getting done with it,” says Sturgeon. “Nobody was trying to get it cleaned up around the town. Not the people in the town, but the commissioners. The people involved that could have been doing something about it, did nothing about it.”
Among the concerns for local officials was proper clean-up of the site considering the needed asbestos abatement. Sturgeon says it concerned him that children living in the community and playing in the park were exposed to the air near the collapsed structure.
Sturgeon hails from Porter, Indiana and says he doesn’t have a relationship to the Town of Monterey in particular, but heard about the building site after driving through the community. Clean-up efforts have been underway since the change of ownership, allowing an adjacent roadway to be better accessed and moving the guard fence around the property back slightly, according to Monterey Town Clerk Linda McCune.
Future plans for the site are not yet solidified. Sturgeon says they’re in the process of remodeling the building with the help of volunteers in the Town of Monterey and will likely have something to announce once the work has been completed.
For now, Sturgeon is asking for help from government officials by filing a petition to relieve back taxes and liens placed on the property.
“We bought the building to help them out and get it cleaned up,” says Sturgeon. “We’ve spent several thousands of dollars to get it cleaned up. We feel that we should be compensated for something. They should removed the liens, the tax liens, the sewer liens, stuff like that because it wasn’t our fault at the time.”
Immediate needs for the site include stabilizing the standing structure and conducting general improvement work to get the building back in shape.
The request was originally presented to the Pulaski County Commissioners. They referred it to the Town of Monterey and to the County Council. Monterey officials say they will likely consider it at their July meeting.