News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News


September 9, 2010

STEPHANIE SALTER: Too bad they don’t credit ‘assists’ in the game of city building

TERRE HAUTE — As I read the list of assets cited last week by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in its selection of Terre Haute as 2010 Community of the Year, one person’s name kept coming to mind:

Kevin Burke.

Take away the former mayor’s vision, muscle, enthusiasm, follow-through and periodic pushiness, and many of the achievements noted by the state chamber either wouldn’t exist or would still be in a nascent stage.

Burke had only four years in office — and he made a fair number of enemies during that time — but even his detractors should admit that his administration created, kick-started or resuscitated most of the projects chosen by the chamber as marks of an award-winning community. It’s ironic, but Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett probably wouldn’t be accepting the award in Indianapolis next month if it weren’t for the guy he defeated in a close — and legally contested — 2007 election.

This is not to diss Duke.

Politics is politics and the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that Bennett should stay in office because Burke waited too long to officially question Bennett’s candidacy under Indiana’s Little Hatch Act — a funding/conflict-of-interest law I am not going to rehash here (or ever again, I hope).

This is only to point out that Terre Haute businesses, organizations, institutions and individuals should remember the major role Kevin Burke played in this city’s designation as Community of the Year.

The revitalization of downtown?

Yes, indeed, the merchants and businesspeople of the area have labored mightily for more than 15 years to bring downtown back to life. People such as Boo Lloyd, Norbert Gottschling, Todd Nation, Martha Crossen, and the Ohio Building’s Al Ruckreigel and David Adams established a beachhead downtown and defended it. Yes, the building of City Center under Jim Jenkins’ mayorship brought residents to Terre Haute’s sorry old shopping area.

But the seismic shift downtown occurred when the abandoned and decrepit Terre Haute House came down at Seventh and Wabash and was replaced by a Hilton Garden Inn, which begat a Candlewood Suites across the street, which begat a Children’s Museum.

Burke took a lot of heat for putting sentimentality (and historic building preservation) aside with the Terre Haute House. I was among his critics because I always prefer to see an old building rehabilitated and put to new use. But as mayor, Burke was tired of waiting for forces to coalesce around a revived Terre Haute House. He knew there was the private will and public funding for knocking down the old and erecting the new, and he and his staff helped make the deals that made it happen.

They did the same with the Hilton’s owner, Tim Dora, and Candlewood Suites, convincing the Children’s Museum folks to forgo building on remote property near Union Hospital and instead throw in their lot with the second Dora project.

In a very short time, the crucial block of Wabash, bordered by Eighth Street and the “Crossroads of America,” went from a dark, almost lifeless stretch to one of activity with a substantial future. During last month’s ceremonies to honor Max Ehrmann at the Crossroads intersection, it was impossible to imagine such festivities occurring in the hulking shadow of the Terre Haute House.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce mentioned Terre Haute’s enlarged and updated health-care scene, not least of which is the $185 million expansion of Union Hospital. Again, that transformation was in the works long before Burke was mayor, but it was during his term that the city actively worked to facilitate Union’s plans — and that work included closing North Seventh Street.

The move was ultra-controversial. I and hundreds of other residents were deadset against the closing, believing an alternate configuration for the new hospital was possible. Once again, though, the Burke administration did not see waiting as wise — and definitely saw no contest between an unbroken urban thoroughfare and instant construction jobs and a new medical center. Whatever the city could do to enable Union’s much-needed expansion, it did.

The development of Terre Haute’s riverfront was another asset the Hoosier chamber mentioned in awarding us its Community of the Year prize. To be sure, people such as John Mutchner and Max Miller had been working for many years to convince city officials and business owners to take such a project seriously. Burke not only listened to their plans, but also he instructed his various department heads to actively engage in helping make them a reality.

Riverscape truly took off during Burke’s administration, which provided financial as well as moral support, including about $200,000 of city economic development money that was to be used by the riverfront citizens committee. As was his prerogative, Bennett rescinded the funds when he took office.

The handsome multi-modal transportation center and parking garage on Eighth Street near Hulman Center and Indiana State University’s campus also had been a long time coming, but it languished under previous administrations. In fact, Terre Haute came within about 30 days of losing the federal funding that was designated for the structure. During Burke’s first year in office, his administration stepped in and recruited the appropriate people to save the project money and affirm all the lobbying efforts that had gone into it.

The new Barnes and Noble bookstore that soon will serve as a liaison building between ISU’s south campus border and downtown?

That was one of the last deals Burke put together before he was voted out of office. His administration worked with Danville, Ill., developer David Cocagne to provide every available incentive to make downtown Terre Haute an attractive and viable place for Barnes and Noble to build another university-centered facility. Ground was to have been broken in March 2008, but the change in administrations slowed down the process.

The bookstore deal was typical of Burke’s modus operandi. Instead of offering private investors and developers promises and excuses, he offered tax incentives and creative public-private partnerships that convinced local and out-of-town money that Terre Haute’s  government was their friend. His imprint is on projects from the Federal Building to the expansion of Brown Avenue, and it totals tens of millions of dollars invested right here.

Hauteans who detest the expansion and change the city has experienced since January 2004 can blame Burke for a lot of it. Anyone who is glad to be living in the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s Community of 2010 ought to give credit where credit is due.

Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • EDITORIAL: Legal marriages should be honored

    An eager and probably nervous couple stands before a minister or a judge or a county clerk and exchanges vows, accepting the legal, moral and ethical obligations of a marriage.

    July 13, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 14, 2014

    • Where did the 61 cents go?

    July 13, 2014

  • wefight.jpg MARK BENNETT: Filmmaker captures late uncle’s walk through illness and into ‘whatever is next’

    Paul Fleschner sensed a remarkable strength as he filmed his beloved uncle one final time.

    July 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • EDITORIAL: Dysfunctional relationship with schools chief doesn’t bode well for potential Pence presidency

    A window to the future may be unfolding in Indiana.

    July 12, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 13, 2014

    • Telling the truth about smoking
    • Larger energy bills on the way, thanks to EPA
    • Embrace the compassion, not self-righteousness
    • Wondering about country’s leaders
    • New amendments have hurt country

    July 12, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: EPA proposal will have little impact on environment, but could hurt coal industry

    I recently signed on as an original co-sponsor to a bipartisan bill led by one of my Democrat colleagues from West Virginia that would stop the newly released Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations on existing coal-generated power plants.

    July 12, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Troubled history in that place called Iraq

    People are dying, again, in Iraq. And, again, people other than Iraqis will ultimately make the decision about what happens to this ancient land.

    July 11, 2014

  • Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’

    It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
    In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.

    July 10, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 11, 2014

    July 10, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: That Old Man River

    I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing

    It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.

    July 9, 2014

  • READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014

    • Herb Faire a great success

    • Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’

    • Thanks for stirring fireworks show

    July 9, 2014

  • tstribunestar EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible

    The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014

    • Don’t eliminate our six-day mail

    • Zamperini death stirs memories

    July 8, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Black Dog

    We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
    There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.

    July 8, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014

    • T-S ignores common decency

    • Lighten up on Donald Sterling

    • Time to reject Dems in Congress

    Fueling the EPA

    July 7, 2014

  • MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations

    Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”

    July 7, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014

    • The moral issue is major issue

    July 6, 2014

  • tstribunestar Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion

    Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014

    • Coats ignoring climate science

    • Do those mustache posters exist?

    • Utility rate freeze took determination

    • What perversion is next in line?

    • Opinions vary, but voters will decide

    • This preaching must stop — now

    • Golf fundraiser a huge success

    July 6, 2014

  • Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.

    July 6, 2014

  • Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations

    The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.

    July 6, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson

    During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.

    July 4, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.

    July 3, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014

    July 3, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country

    The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 033114 GREG ZOELLER MUG.jpg GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014

    • Over the top on immigration

    July 2, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices

    On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    July 2, 2014

  • Gov. Mike Pence (R, Ind.) MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices

    Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Violence Mars Argentina's WC Celebration Stolen Car Collides With Greyhound Bus Bull Run Comes to Middle America Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Lightning Kills Two in National Park in Colorado Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Gaza Strip Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia Argentina Fans Sad but Proud in Loss One Dead, 19 Injured in Greyhound Bus Crash Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Giant Whale Vacuumed in New York City Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Wisconsin Cop Ready to Roll...On Skateboard Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Tiny Texas Border Town Weathers Migrant Influx Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta
NDN Video
A Dog and His Chicks LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Boeing Squeezes More Seats Into the 737 Fist Pump Time! JWoww is a New Mom Japan zoo makes wild fashion statement with lion-ripped jeans Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Man In Trouble For Selfie During 'Running Of The Bulls' RAW VIDEO: Stampede injures ten at Georgia World Congress Center Original 'Planet of the Apes' Actress Looks Back at the Classic Film Cellphone Video Shows Assault Tracy Morgan released from rehab month after crash Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked!

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010