OAKTOWN — The results of a master utility planning study were presented to town officials this week, with the findings to guide future infrastructure improvements.

Terre Haute-based HWC Engineering completed the grant-funded study last spring and according to the data, town council member Randy Rinsch said, improvements to address stormwater will be at the top of the list.

“The main thing will be stormwater removal, addressing storm drains, upgrading the central drain basins with the idea of having all that in place for future projects,” he said.

The estimated cost for those improvements is around $1 million.

The next step, Rinsch said, is to figure out what grants might be worth pursuing — with the help of Loogootee-based Southern Indiana Development Commission — to fund those improvements, and secure a loan for the remainder of the cost.

And despite the $1 million price tag, Rinsch said the town council was pleased with HWC's results.

“The first proposal in October was over $3 million, so we asked them to streamline it to get the main source of the problems corrected,” Rinsch said. “We were happy to see what HWC proposed.”

Oaktown officials learned in 2016 that they had been awarded a $50,000 grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to put toward the master utility planning study.

The study examined the town's utility infrastructure, such as the wastewater and stormwater systems, to figure out what needed fixing, and how those repairs should be made.

Rinsch also noted that blighted home demolitions have picked up after a delay.

With gas service disconnected from two abandoned houses slated to be razed with state funding, the property at 304 Hawk Lane has finally come down and the house at 214 N. Park St. will face the bulldozer within the next few days.

The demolitions are funded through a $165,000 grant from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority's Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program.

Bicknell-based Mullins Supply will be paid $15,000 for the demolition work on the properties.

After the house on North Park has been razed, Oaktown will have eliminated four blighted houses from the landscape using Blight Elimination Program money.

Another dilapidated house, located at 107 Wabash Ave., that the town purchased through the county commissioners' sale for $100, will be demolished next week.

Mullins Supply will also handle that project for $4,500.

In other news, Rinsch said that the town council also this week OK'd the replacement of an antenna located at the water wells that was damaged during a storm last fall.

The replacement will cost $1,000.

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