City of North Vernon hopes to acquire block destroyed by fire - WDRB 41 Louisville News

City of North Vernon hopes to acquire block destroyed by fire

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City officials say seven buildings on the charred block are a total loss. City officials say seven buildings on the charred block are a total loss.
NORTH VERNON, Ind. (WDRB) -- More than two months after a fire destroyed a historic block of North Vernon, the southern Indiana city wants to step in to help clean up the mess. 

Larry Sporleder has a view of fifth Street from his office window. 

"I see very little of anything other than some damaged buildings and some buildings that are totally destroyed," he said. 

The real estate agent says he was there in late November and watched the fire, which police have called arson.

City officials say seven buildings are a total loss. Even with time, the debris and damaged buildings remain boarded up and nothing has been cleaned up. 

"This is not just a gap tooth, the look when you're missing one building," Mayor Harold Campbell told WDRB News. "Now we're missing a whole mouth full of teeth and I think the city is the most capable of bringing it back." 

Campbell says the city would like to buy affected properties so that the block can be redeveloped. 

City leaders have been meeting with property owners and neighbors, but no agreements have been made yet. 

Mayor Campbell also plans on asking city council to make Harmon Construction Group the project manager next week. The company would help coordinate demolition and clean up.

"Sometimes you get too many hands in the pie, so it takes one person to stay focused on the project," Campbell said. 

Keeping the historic facades, access to state money and private insurance settlements would also be up for discussion. 

To Sporleder, no matter what happens, memories are gone and the block will never be the same. 

"Hopefully someday, we've got a better picture to look at when I look out my front window," Sporleder said. 

Police are still investigating the fire. 

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