New Indiana Second Ward councilman Larry DeChurch had only been on the job about an hour Tuesday evening when he was given an unusual assignment: Help select another Second Ward resident to fill another vacancy on council.
DeChurch was sworn in earlier Tuesday evening to fill a vacancy created by the resignation in May of Bill Simmons.
Council Tuesday accepted the resignation of Tom Shively, whose term expires at the end of the year. Shively was not running for re-election.
Council President Nancy Jones asked the remaining two Second Ward representatives — Robert Jobe and DeChurch — to bring to council’s work session in two weeks the names of one or two Second Ward residents interested in completing Shively’s term. That meeting in two weeks will be advertised for special purposes, and it’s expected Shively’s successor will then be elected by the other council members and sworn in.
Borough solicitor Wayne Kablack clarified that under the state’s election laws, DeChurch will serve through the end of this year rather than completing all of Simmons’ unfinished term.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Chloe Drew, a volunteer for the farmers’ market held in downtown Indiana, asked council to consider providing a location with more space for the market next year. Vendors are being turned away on Wednesdays this summer because there is not enough room for everyone who wants to participate and sell fresh local foods, she said.
The farmer’s market is held in a borough-owned parking lot behind Grace United Methodist Church off Church Street.
In other action, council:
• Agreed to support a community initiative to symbolically change the name of North Fifth Street to “Jim Nance Boulevard” in honor of the Indiana Area High grad who played pro football in the 1960s.
• Agreed to partner with the IUP Archaeology Department in applying for a grant to place more signs encouraging people to walk to destinations in the borough.
• Voted to eliminate three parking spaces to improve the sight distances at the intersection of North Ninth Street and Oakland Avenue.
• Accepted a loan offer from S&T Bank for $391,440 at 1.82 percent interest to cover the borough’s share of the payment for the streetscape enhancements being built along North Seventh Street and Water Street. The money will be paid back from the borough’s future Community Development Block Grants.