By TIMOTHY COX
ROCKFORD — Village officials are baffled about who owns
a piece of land along U.S. 33 known as Hedges Cemetery.
Rockford American Legion officials are interested in acquiring
the 2-acre parcel, but village officials who met Tuesday night
said they still are unable to clear up ownership of the tract.
Officials have been talking about the issue for two months.
Two weeks ago, village council members appeared to distance
themselves from the issue, saying they could not transfer land
they do not own. But The Daily Standard found soon after that
the land is listed with the Mercer County Tax Map office as
being owned by the town.
Solicitor Judy Koesters agreed to do some additional research
on the property. County records indicate several Hedges family
members held the property through the years, but she said there
is no clear transfer of the property to the town. Without a
deed, village officials could not sell the land, she said.
But some council members expressed interest in looking into
a legal proceeding called adverse possession. Through such a
process, the town would seek to have a judge declare the village
the owner of the land.
The town has maintained the plot for years. The only apparent
user of the green space is the American Legion post, which maintains
a memorial there and holds annual services there on Memorial
Also Tuesday, council members agreed to allow the Subway sandwich
shop on Main Street to add a banner-type sign to a bracket on
a village-owned light pole. The business owners had asked the
village to intervene because there is no adequate signage marking
the restaurant for people traveling from the north.
Village Administrator Jeff Long said the sign is allowed based
on the town’s zoning regulations, but the rules do not
discuss whether signs can hang on village property.
Council members agreed to allow the sign to be installed as
long as it is well-maintained.
In other business, council members:
• Passed an emergency resolution to seek bids for a sanitary
sewer construction project to assist site development at the
construction site of the new Parkway Local Schools building.
The work is estimated to cost $160,000 for 3,300 feet of storm
sewer lines. The village is picking up the tab but expects to
recoup its investment through income taxes collected from the
workers during construction and the school staff after the building
• Learned the town is having two separate street lighting
problems. An unidentified short is keeping a set of four village-owned
light poles dark, Long said. An electrician will be consulted
if the problem is not solved soon, he said. The town also is
having a difficult time getting Dayton Power & Light Co.
to respond to replace some burnt out bulbs in street lights.
Several contact telephone numbers have been disconnected or
lead only to recorded messages, Long said.
• Agreed to hire Springer & Sons Tree Service, Celina,
for $500 to remove a large oak tree and stump at 808 W. Columbia
St. The tree has become so large it is causing property damage.
The town, property owner and village tree commission will share
• Agreed to a change in the income tax collection process
to meet a recommendation by the state auditor’s office
during the most recent audit. Tax returns prepared by the tax
administrator as part of his duties as a private-sector accountant
now will be examined by Mayor Bob King.
• Heard from council member Amy Joseph that some people
are interested in replacing the sidewalks in front of their
homes or adding walks where none exist. Village officials agreed
to schedule a public meeting to gauge public interest.