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November 14, 2013

City Council OKs Meijer rezoning

City will extend New Margaret Ave., sanitary sewer line in area

TERRE HAUTE — Meijer, a multi-purpose superstore, is one step closer to breaking ground on Terre Haute’s east side.

The City Council, without opposition, voted Thursday night to rezone about 30 acres of mostly agricultural land to allow the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer to locate east of U.S. 40/Indiana 46, across the highway from the Walmart shopping area.

The rezoning petition was presented by a representative of property owners Greg Gibson and John McDonnall. A site plan, showing the store and future parking, was also shown to the council before the vote.

“We’re very excited to be here in Terre Haute,” said Ben Houle of Woolpert Inc., a civil engineering firm representing Meijer before the council.

The Meijer project has already spurred new planned investment in the immediate area, including restaurants, said Mayor Duke Bennett, speaking after the meeting. Specifics on those projects cannot yet be announced, he said.

“We’ve been waiting on that next big box store” to move into that area, the mayor said.

The Meijer store will be within the Terre Haute International Airport’s economic development zone, meaning new property taxes generated by the store will be “captured” by the airport authority for infrastructure investment.

In the meantime, the City of Terre Haute plans to extend New Margaret Avenue, which currently stops at Indiana 46/U.S. 40, across the highway to accommodate the Meijer store. The city is also extending sanitary sewer service to that area. The airport authority will reimburse the city for those expenses, Bennett said.

While the airport economic development zone will directly benefit from the Meijer investment in the form of new property taxes, the city’s general fund will indirectly benefit in several ways, Bennett said. New taxes from the zone can be used for projects that “support” the area, such as a planned overpass at 19th Street and Margaret Avenue and police and fire protection for the area, he said.

Councilman Don Morris, D-at large, asked Houle and other Meijer representatives to ensure that their construction does not create drainage problems for other landowners. And Councilman Todd Nation, D-4th, asked them to consider integrating bike and pedestrian-friendly access routes.

Councilman Norm Loudermilk, D-3rd, asked the company’s representatives to use local contractors for their construction. The general contractor for the job will be Rockford Construction, also of Grand Rapids, Houle said. Rockford will hire area subcontractors based on price and experience, he said.

Meijer has more than 200 stores in the Midwest employing about 74,000 people. It was ranked the 15th largest privately owned U.S. company by Forbes last year.

n The council also approved a resolution honoring long-time City Clerk Charles Hanley. Hanley, a Democrat, was first appointed Clerk in 1983. He won election to the post that year and was then re-elected seven times, most recently in 2011.

Hanley was unable to attend the council meeting because of a medical appointment in Indianapolis, a clerk’s office official stated, adding Hanley sends his thanks and hopes for many additional years of service to the city.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

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