The Town of Monterey says they are limited in their ability to help the new owner of the former Sportsman’s Bar and Grill.
A property transfer was completed in late May of this year to William Sturgeon who has focused his attention on cleaning-up the site – which sat in rubble for some time prior to purchase following a collapse in 2015.
Sturgeon has briefed the Monterey Town Council on his desire to see sewer liens placed against the property forgiven to aid in his rejuvenation of the site. That may be easier said that done according to Town Attorney Justin Schramm. He says the liens have already been certified by the Pulaski County Recorder’s office.
“We are actually prohibited from releasing those liens under the Indiana Code,” says Schramm. “So at this point, we haven’t released the liens because we’re prohibited from doing so. So it kind of puts us in a tough position as well as the current property owner. It’s actually illegal for us to release the liens at this point.”
Sturgeon has previously stated he purchased the former Sportsman’s site as a way to help the Monterey community and says he wants to be compensated for his efforts to have the liens placed on the previous owner, forgiven.
Now that sufficient time has been spent looking into the matter, Monterey says the matter is largely out of their hands by statute. Unless new information is gleaned, Sturgeon may simply have to work out a payment plan with the Pulaski County Treasurer’s office. He has stated to WKVI in past interviews he would follow through with the payments if it came to that.
There are unrelated options available to the Town of Monterey such as a property tax abatement for his development efforts. So far, Schramm says no one has proposed such a step. He says after that, the matter is out of their hands.
“Our town clerk-treasurer can’t even receive any of those funds if someone were to pay off the full amount of the liens that were owed on the property,” says Schramm. “Any payments, at least at this point, have to given to the Pulaski County Treasurer. And at that point, she would release the liens.”
So far, no formal plan exists for the site according to Sturgeon but he says an idea will hopefully be made public at some point in the future.