Recently, the Chinook mine site was certified as a CSX Transportation Large Industrial/Light Manufacturing Mega Site by McCallum Sweeney Consulting, Greenville, S.C.
"It is the first area in the state to receive the certification as a Mega Site," Commissioner Paul Sinders told The Brazil Times about the 4,500-plus-acre property which straddles the Clay-Vigo line.
The evaluation of the property is part of an initiative by CSX Transportation, Inc., and McCallum, to identify potential sites within the CSXT service area which are suitable for large-scale manufacturing projects.
"Chinook's size, significant nearby utility services and adjacent major transportation infrastructure such as CSX and the Indiana Rail Road rail lines, Interstate Highway 70 and Terre Haute International Airport's 9,020-foot primary runway make the property an ideal candidate for CSX Transportation's large industrial mega site certification program," Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said in a press release.
The Clay and Vigo county commissioners, along with the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation and other stakeholders, combined in a team effort during a 30-month period to submit the property for certification.
"Chinook is of a scale that a number of major manufacturing and supply-chain uses can be accommodated onsite," Vigo County Commissioners' president Paul Mason said. "The mega site certification for Chinook will help position Clay and Vigo counties for future opportunities when the national economy rebounds."
However, development of the site -- which is largely reclaimed property -- has already begun in recent years.
Headwaters Energy Services, a coal-based synthetic fuel company out of Utah, began work to dredge at least six slurry ponds to sift and collect coal particulates in 2007, and BioEnergy Development Company, Fishers, plans to break ground and begin construction of a biomass electric generation plant on the property sometime this Spring.
"One of the big advantages to having the Mega Site certification is that it gives Clay and Vigo counties statewide and national attention, letting companies know the site is available.
Hannum, Wagle and Cline Engineering, Terre Haute, has also been conducting a study of the site to determine, in part, the plausibility of utilizing the rail service on the property.
The certification has Sinders hopeful for the possibility of creating many more high-paying jobs for county residents in the future.
"I hope to get some of the things we have planned done now so when the economy turns upward, it will be ready for companies," Sinders said, referencing the potential installation of a water tower near I-70 and expanding infrastructure in the corridor. "But, with any development of the area down the road, it will have to continue to be a joint effort between Clay and Vigo counties."