News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 17, 2013

Pipeline to progress

City, airport working for sewer extension to aid development

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The seven-person Terre Haute Redevelopment Commission Wednesday approved an agreement with Terre Haute International Airport–Hulman Field to extend a sewer line under U.S. 40/Indiana 46 to allow for future commercial development on the east side of the highway.

The board voted without opposition for the agreement. It calls for a sewer line to cross under the roadway near the eastside Walmart store and then run parallel to 40/46.

Property reached by the new sewer line is owned by Terre Haute businessman Greg Gibson, according to county records.

Cliff Lambert, executive director of the Department of Redevelopment, said the agreement is part of an effort to develop the property on the east side of 40/46, which is part of an airport economic development district. Once businesses move into the area, the Airport Authority, which will collect property tax revenue from the businesses, can begin to repay the Redevelopment Commission for the sewer line work, he said.

Lambert estimates the sewer extension will cost “considerably less than” $1 million. Funding will come from property taxes collected within the city’s east-side Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district, he said.

The Redevelopment Commission, made up of members appointed by elected city officials, oversees Terre Haute’s various special taxing districts, known TIF districts. The eastside TIF, which includes Walmart, has been a big economic success, Lambert told the commissioners Wednesday.

n Also Wednesday, the commissioners received good news regarding cleanup costs at the former Terre Haute Coke and Carbon site at 13th and Hulman streets. Pat Martin, city planner, told the commissioners the cost is now estimated to be $5.4 million. It was most recently expected to be around $7 million.

In any case, Martin told the commissioners, the cleanup is being done with essentially “free money” since a discount on a city bond is covering the cost.

The Sanitary District is borrowing about $150 million to essentially replace the city’s old wastewater treatment facility. The loan is going through the Indiana Finance Authority, which is granting the city a discount on its interest rate of 0.5 percent because the loan will pay to clean up an environmentally contaminated area – the former Coke and Carbon site. That discount on the loan will save the city enough money to pay for the cleanup, Martin said.

A cleanup of about half of the former Coke and Carbon site should be completed by the end of this year, allowing the city to begin imagining how the roughly 55-acre site can be developed in the future, officials said.

Plans are not yet in place to clean up the remaining acres at the site, which are in the interior of the property, away from Hulman and 13th streets.

Soil at the former industrial site is contaminated with several byproducts of the process of converting coal into coke over several decades. The cleanup will include hauling about 80,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil to a Vigo County landfill where it will be “capped” according to state and federal environmental standards, Martin said.

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