SRC Delays Action

(posted Apr 16)

The Speedway Redevelopment Commission delayed action to adopt the 38 parcel acquisition list until April 21. President Vince Noblet said the commission needed time to review the four remonstrance letters that were filed by James and Susan Luebbert, Joyce Bishop, Betty Bunch, and Betty Seymour on behalf of Parker's Jewelers.

Bishop's letter said she preferred to continue to work with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway about purchasing her property; therefore, she asked for her property, at 4501 W. 16th Street, to be removed from the list.

The meeting marked a milestone for the commission's unusual action to delay a vote. The commission has never delayed action when approving previous acquisition lists.

The SRC's plans require an acquisition list to complete the critical components of the 16th Street realignment and roundabouts installation. The roundabouts are now a three point entry instead of four with 16th Street entering the roundabout.

Executive Director Scott Harris "This will be the first real roundabout in Marion County."

Despite the approximately 100 people in attendance, only two expressed concerns at the April 15 public hearing. Rodney Brown wanted to inform the committee that 4948 Crawfordsville Road has changed ownership. Attorney Greg Zubek, representing the Luebberts at 4601 W. 16th Street, said the acquisition list is a precursor to eminent domain.

During Zubek's comment, Patriot Paul Wheeler held a sign that said "eminent domain is inhumane". Wheeler is known for wearing his colonial apparel that serves as a reminder about government tyranny. Wheeler is appalled that the Indiana General Assembly has created these powerful redevelopment commissions that can take people's property all in the name of redevelopment to end what they determine is blight. Wheeler attended the meeting because of the potential use of eminent domain. Even though eminent domain is legal, Wheeler views it as morally wrong to force someone from their property and to make them relocate. The fair market value price does not cover the immorality of telling some one they can no longer operate a  business on private property because of plans the government deems better. He said the compensation does not cover the owner for the losses a business suffers by vacating a prime location that attracted it existing customer base.

Zubek asked the commission to work with property owners like the state did with Hurst Beans during the Lucas Oil Stadium property acquisition. There was an attempt to use eminent domain on the Hurst Bean plant to be used as parking for the events at Lucas Oil Stadium. Zubek asked the SRC to follow the state's lead to work with property owners to co-exist. His comments drew applause from the crowd.

James Gutting, representing the SRC, said the SRC is not interested in kicking anybody out. They want the current businesses owners to relocate on Main Street. He said whether they are property owners or tenants depends upon the terms of private developers. He said unfortunately these are a lot of complex tools that makes it difficult for people to understand.

He said the proposed Redevelopment Authority will own and control the realigned 16th Street. He said the maintenance still needs to be worked out with DPW. Currently, DPW controls 16th Street.

Stephanie DeKemper, running for State Representative District 92, said she is concerned about the residents of Speedway and wanted to attend the meeting to see how she could best address their concerns.

Jerry Bratton, the owner of the abandoned Conrail corridor along Crawfordsville Road, is in both redevelopment areas. He thinks the redevelopment project is "a good thing for Speedway, a good thing for the IMS, and the citizens of Speedway." Although there are a still a lot of unanswered questions for Bratton, he thinks it would be too premature for the people to take an "attitude" about the project.

The April 21 meeting is expected to be held in the Speedway High School Cafeteria at 6 pm.