Liberty Town Council reviewed a proposal from grant administrator Michael Kleinpeter, president of Kleinpeter Consulting, for a feasability study to analyze the town's need for a new firehouse, funded by a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Development.

Union County special projects coordinator Olivia Chewning has been working as a liaison between the LTC and Kleinpeter on the project. Kleinpeter reported since the last update Chewning provided to the board, OCRA has changed their application requirements, causing a slight delay in the project. In order to comply with the change, Kleinpeter will need to complete an income study and help the town hire an engineering firm to run the study. 

The Town of Liberty is eligible for a $20,000 grant from OCRA, requiring a local match of $2,500. OCRA allows a grant administration fee of eight percent, which will be paid to Kleinpeter only if the project is selected by OCRA and the town receives funding.

The feasibility study will identify potential building sites and provide options on three floor plans, giving LTC a series of cost estimates should they choose to move forward with the construction project. LTC authorized Kleinpeter to get started on the income survey, which will be sent to all addresses within the Liberty Volunteer Fire Department's primary service area.

Also discussed:
-Street and utility superintendent Matt Reuss reported seeing supply chain constraints on brass parts and fittings used in the water utility and warned the LTC if the scarcity continues it may cause delays for new hookups. Delays are also expected on the town's water main replacement project. LTC president Matt Barnhizer inquired how the delay would affect the project deadlines dictacted by the OCRA grant funding. Kleinpeter replied OCRA will want to be notified of delays within 60 days of the Aug. 11, 2024 deadline and expects an extension will be given due to statewide shortages.

-A Vine Street resident brought concerns about increases in speed and quantity of traffic in her neighborhood and requested the addition of two stop signs at the corner of Vine and Market streets, making it a four-way stop. Council member Ross Keasling noted he was approached by a resident in that area in the past about that same intersection. Reuss asked the board that he be given time to discuss the additional signs with Liberty Police Chief Andrew Jordan. The resident noted Jordan has recently been working to pull over vehicles with campers and boats on Vine Street, which is marked with “no through traffic” signs.

-Liberty clerk-treasurer Melissa Shepler informed LTC she had discussed the possibility of a street closure for trick-or-treat night with the town's legal counsel concerning liability insurance. Such a street closure would be covered by the town's existing insurance, requiring no additional coverage. The LTC discussed a number of concerns about the street closure, including labor to erect and break down street barriers, out-of-town traffic breaking through barriers, accessibility for residents with mobility issues and initiating closure requests from other residents of other streets in town. In the end, LTC decided against the trick-or-treat street closure and set the official trick-or-treat hours for 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31.