By DAVE KITCHELL

Pharos-Tribune staff writer

After hearing from downtown business people and receiving a petition from business owners opposed to the Downtown Development Board, Logansport City Council members voted 4-3 Monday night to ask the Logansport Plan Commission to reconsider the ordinance that created it.

Council members made their vote after receiving a petition from 15 downtown businesses calling for the board to be dissolved. Among the businesses represented on the petition were Zip-Thru, Schroder’s Motors, Peattie’s Bait and Tackle, Pulse Music, Leather or Knot Antiques, James Knight Law Office, Attorney Mike Boonstra and Dorena Hipsher of Blue Ribbon Doughnuts.

The most vocal critic of the board was Diane Murphy representing Blue Ribbon Doughnuts. Murphy, who appeared at a previous meeting to criticize the board, presented a two-page statement at a committee meeting before the council meeting and again during the meeting.

“Is it the council’s belief that a business should have to set aside time to go in front of a group of strangers to place flower boxes in front of their business?” she asked. “This is what is currently required by the board.”

Murphy was particularly critical of board members Kado Downs and Shawn Bailey. She specifically said of Downs, “As a board member for the city, I have found him to be arrogant and combative on every occasion.”

After the meeting, Downs said he would not comment other than to say, “It’s a darn shame.”

Murphy said communities like Logansport that Bailey referred to in a recent Pharos-Tribune guest column benefited not from similar ordinances, but from casinos in their community.

Bailey said during the meeting in response to her claims that only one petition brought before the board for approval has been denied, and the board has approached Blue Ribbon about working with them on the petition, but Blue Ribbon has not responded.

Meanwhile, another interested party in the Blue Ribbon petition to allow a banner outside the Fifth Street store, Richard Hipsher, questioned the need for the board.

“This is what happens when you give little people a little authority,” he said.

In other business:

•Council members voted to remove a resolution from the agenda that would have designated downtown economic development target areas for tax abatement. Plan Director Stan Williams said the current zoning for downtown does not permit tax abatement of commercial property.

•The sale of Biddle’s Island Park to a adjoining property owner has hit a snag. Council members voted to approve an ordinance selling Lilac Park to a nearby property owner, but removed language including Biddle’s Island, from the ordinance. Franklin said the city may opt to lease the park eventually.

•Ten foreign exchange students at Logansport High School were honored by the council. They are Josephine Monad, Denmark; Da-Hye Ko, South Korea, Cony Becker, Germany, Sbene Gordon, Germany; Renata Markman, Brazil; Yumi Nishumura, Japan; Stina Olsen, Denmark; Yohei Tomoyose, Japan; Eliane Tschuemperlin, Switzerland; and Ranilo Perez, Philippines.

Dave Kitchell may be contacted at 722-5000, Ext. 5150, or via e-mail at david.kitchell@pharostribune.com

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