- Project will provide sewer service to Navistar plant at old Red Bird Garage location
"It's going to allow us to do further infrastructure improvements down there. One, two, more projects could pay for a water tower (to remedy inadequate fire protection in the area)."
-- Jim Coffenberry,
Economic Development Specialist, West Central Indiana Economic Development District, Inc.
By ANDY MCCAMMON
With a July 1 deadline looming, the Clay County Economic Redevelopment Commission made preparations this week to begin construction on a project that will provide sewer service to a new business at the junction of I-70 and S.R. 59.
Navistar, a truck maintenance and repair firm with plans to take over and expand the Red Bird Garage property south of Brazil, had asked that the sewer line be ready by the beginning of July. Scrambling to meet that deadline, the commission voted Monday to solicit emergency price quotes from local excavators rather than endure a lengthy bidding process.
"We've dinked around with these people for months, and now they tell us we have to have it in by July 1," said commission member Mary Jo Alumbaugh.
The commission will only review price quotes submitted by excavators submitted by excavation companies in Clay County. A formal bidding process would have required advance published notice and taken weeks to wrap up, commission members said.
Navistar's proposed 8,100 square-foot expansion will require the county to extend a 10-inch sewer main 2,100 feet to the site of the expansion. Brian Pohlar, a senior project manager for Hannum, Wagle & Cline, estimated the cost of the sewer expansion at around $70,000.
But because the site lies in what has been designated an economic development area, the sewer main can be purchased and installed at a minimal cost to the county.
The economic development area at S.R. 59 and I-70, created in 2000, generates Tax Increment Funds (TIFs) based on the growth of property tax assessments within the area, netting around $30,000 in 2005. The money can only be spent on improvements within the development area.
TIF revenues should comfortably cover the cost of the sewer improvement-- and continue to increase as new businesses arrive, according to Jim Coffenberry, Economic Development Specialist, West Central Indiana Economic Development District, Inc., who works closely with the redevelopment commission.
"It's going to allow us to do further infrastructure improvements down there," he said. "One, two more projects could pay for a water tower (to remedy inadequate fire protection in the area)."