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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Projects help build Clayton back up

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  • The Town of Clayton has a lot of projects on the horizon for 2014 and while the projects won't necessarily lend themselves to the growth of Clayton, the ventures will help build the town back up.
    Town Foreman Jeff Hurlock said there have been some good things to happen to the town recently that will help Clayton move forward. In 2014, residents will see town hall renovated, the Clayton Police Station expanded, the Clayton Fire Hall expanded, development downtown and possibly a new school coming to town.
    "It's all right here in the center of town and it keeps the town from going dormant," Hurlock said.
    Town projects
    Two big projects directly related to the Town of Clayton involve a town hall renovation and police station expansion.
    The town hall renovation will put more space in the office area for clerks. The police station expansion will give police their own entrance, which will keep town staff separate from police work.
    Hurlock said these projects are still being reviewed by the Fire Marshal's office. He expects the projects to begin in about six weeks. Clayton Town Council approved the $101,000 project at the Nov. 25 meeting. The project also includes a new shower and bathroom in the
    What else is going on in Clayton?
    The Clayton Fire Company is in the process of expanding the fire hall on Railroad Avenue. The roughly $2 million project will increase the size of the fire department from 7,500-square feet to 10,000-square feet.
    The expansion is being done to address several needs for the department including space.
    Hurlock thinks the fire hall expansion is another positive project occurring in town.
    "That's going to be a great addition. When you turn that corner to that area when it's done, it's going to be a nice looking corner," Hurlock said.
    Another possible project to happen in town could be the arrival of a military academy at the St. Joseph's property. First State Military Academy is a new charter school hoping to bring their school to Clayton. While military academy officials will only say they're going to settlement for a property in Clayton, Hurlock said the property is St. Joseph's and it's a move he's happy to see.
    "I can't think of nothing but good things about it," Hurlock said. "It was really disheartening to see it renovated into a school, brought back to life, and then vacated again and to watch it slowly start to be a dilapidated. Now First State Military Academy is going to come in, obtain it and turn it into a school again. It's pretty neat to have a military academy in our area for residents."
    Page 2 of 2 - Yet there's more. Hurlock said another bright spot in the town was the acquisition of the former John Deere building on Main Street. Hurlock said local resident Ed Ide purchased the property, and is already in the process of renovating it and working to bring businesses into the building.
    "The best thing about this is when Ed purchased it, he obtained books on how the property used to look and plans to renovate it," Hurlock said. "I was always concerned it would be torn down and turned into a modern building but he's going to renovate that to the existing conditions. That was good."
    And still there's more. Last year Hurlock said Lenape Builders purchased housing development Huntington Mills. For several years there have been issues regarding unpaved roads and vacant properties in the development. Hurlock said Lenape has already started maintaining properties, and believes the purchase will help vacant lots get built and existing homes be sold.
    So should the town grow?
    So what would Hurlock like to see happen to Clayton in the future? He would like to see the town build on what's already there rather than grow.
    He said the town needs a market where residents can go to buy a sandwich, a loaf of bread and milk. He'd like to see the nearly 800 lots available to be built on actually get developed. Hurlock would also like to see the former biodiesel plant by Southern States be redeveloped.
    "Our biggest problem is we don't have a Route 13 or a Route 1 running through us so I don't see how we could ever have a commercial lot. There's just not enough traffic. We can support something small," Hurlock said. "We need to strive to bring back life to the buildings we have rather than going out and annexing more property, or building new property on new lots."
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