City Government

Construction workers find buried remnants of original Mills School

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Construction workers at Kathleen J. Steele Park unearthed remnants of the original Mills School when they began digging on the site this fall.

The unexpected discovery came as crews work to renovate the West Main Street playground, named after the retired Crawfordsville schools superintendent, into a larger recreation spot.

Excavators were called in to dig out floors, steps and bricks that were shoved underground decades ago when the building was demolished to construct a new elementary school, which now houses the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau.

“We pulled up a couple intact urinals,” city operations director Dale Petrie said Wednesday during a virtual Crawfordsville Board of Public Works and Safety meeting.

The board approved a $20,000 change order request to cover removing the debris.

Since the amount falls within the project’s contract, the work will not cost the city extra money, Petrie said, adding “there will just be a few things we won’t get to buy for the park that we thought we might be able to at the end.”

The renovations are being funded through the Montgomery County Community Foundation, which received funds from an anonymous donor for the project. The Youth Service Bureau donated a small adjacent piece of land to the city for the park.

Lafayette-based Spencer Construction designed the project and is constructing the improvements.

The Crawfordsville Street Department will repave the adjacent alley next spring after a drainage manhole was installed.

In other business, the board approved the Crawfordsville Fire Department’s agreement with Union Township to use hydraulic rescue tools donated by the township.

The agreement allows the city to purchase the equipment after three years for $1. Cost of the equipment is $64,225. The township purchased the tools because they are largely used within its boundaries.

Also in other business, street commissioner Scott Hesler announced that curbside pickup of live Christmas trees will begin Monday. Trees should be stripped of lights and ornaments.

Residents can also drop off Christmas trees outside the gate of the city yard waste site at the end of Whitlock Avenue.

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