Zionsville’s Town Council took the first steps at its’ meeting Monday night to increase its’ properties – the PNC Bank’s holdings on South Main Street.
The property includes the bank building, the locksmith’s shop, and the parking lot on the southside of Hawthorne Street between South Main and First streets.
The council action approved hiring of two independent appraisers, as required by state law, to come up with costs for the potential purchase.
The parking lot, provincially referred to as the Friendly Tavern lot, owned by the bank and leased to the town for a minimal annual amount, is also the site of the popular Farmers’ Market, operating from May to September.
In accompanying action, the council also approved the use of the lot for the annual Saturday event with the Farmers’ Market Inc.
Well-placed sources have confirmed that PNC is in the process of unloading hundreds of its properties, and the Zionsville branch is on that list.
What the town would do with the property, if a purchase is approved, has not been made public. The purchase would probably be funded by a loan to the town should the town decide to buy the site.
Please understand this is only a possible use for part of the property, but using the site of the locksmith shop for a town visitor center with public restrooms would resolve two issues debated for years. That was until one of those matters was resolved this year when a visitors’ center was opened in the business district.
Regardless of how or what would be developed on the property, it would be critical for the town to retain the parking facility, used to great extent daily by patrons of the Friendly, one of the town’s most popular gathering places, hosted by its’ generally genial proprietor Scott Barnes.
Provided that the purchase of the property by the town comes to fruition, then maybe the historic ”Zionsville” sign can be returned to the corner of Main and Sycamore streets where it once was located.
Urban legend purports that the sign, made of iron, once adorned the Zionsville train station depot, located at the end of Laurel Avenue.
Currently, the sign rests in the garage of a well-known town resident, who is most protective of the artifact and refuses to dilvulge its location, but is more than willing to return it to its’ previous location.