SRC Approves Acquisition List

Rick Duman

Photo by Linda Karn

(posted Apr 21)

Speedway Industrial Park was among the 38 parcels that became part of the Speedway Redevelopment Commission's acquisition list. The commission adopted Resolution 2008-3 with a 4-0 vote on April 21. The vote included the use of eminent domain, obtaining appraisals and negotiations. The vote also excluded parcels on Georgetown Road and 10th Street that were part of last month's resolution that expanded the Speed Zone.

Commissioner Steve Bishop was absent due to work related issues, but he did arrive after the meeting ended.

Although the commission listened to public comment, the official public hearing was conducted at the April 15 meeting. The vote did not exclude any remonstrator's request to be removed from the list. The April 21 vote makes it the second time Speedway Industrial Park (SIP) has been approved to be on an acquisition list. On March 19, 2007, the SRC voted to include SIP in the amended third acquisition list despite objections from their attorney David Givens.

Jo Ellen Dotlich asked the people of Speedway to stand behind those on the list to support the fight for the businesses, homeowners and our children's future. Several people in the audience did rise from their seats to show support. She contends that it is only a matter time before the homes on 10th Street are acquired by the SRC because 10th Street will need additional lanes to accommodate the traffic displacement when Georgetown Road is vacated. She opposed the closing of Georgetown Road, contending it will place additional traffic in the school zones plus increase gas consumption to take the half mile detour to drive on Lynhurst Drive.

Danny Williams, representing Pam Merritt of Pitt Stop Liquor, said Merritt has been at 4747 W. 16th Street for 30 years and didn't receive notice until two weeks ago that road construction would begin in November, displacing her from that location. He stated  her "lively hood" would disappear.

Debbie Bunch asked for the business owners to compromise with the SRC . She said nothing will happen if people take the position "oh no not in my backyard." "Speedway is drying up." She agreed with Executive Director Scott Harris' comments that individuals are not making the investments for development.

Rick Duman said "closing Georgetown Road is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life." He said that race teams rely on Georgetown to use Gate 9A because the 16th Street entrance is too congested. He also expressed a concern that Main Street would be cut off from traffic once Georgetown Road was closed. He asked them to realign Georgetown to connect into the roundabout. He said race teams are not knocking on the door to get into the area unless the building is given to them. Racing is an expensive business.

Harris said they have had discussions with different racing teams to be part of the future development, but the idea of locating in Speedway the way it stands today is not appealing. He also noted that SRC has not been able to lease the property it acquired in April of 2007 because 1552 and 1556 Main Street renovation costs are too high. He said that four or five prospective clients have looked at the property to lease, but the renovation costs drove them away. The buildings remain vacant.

Todd Wells, representing Marathon Oil and Super America Gas Stations, urged the SRC to establish a better communication flow. He said the SRC did not inform him that the Speedway Gas Station was going to be on the acquisition list. "It takes time to shut down a petroleum business," he said, and thinks the time frame is too aggressive.

Harris said communication is a two way street and that many of the businesses did not respond.

Commission President Vince Noblet explained that it is cheaper to acquire the Speedway Industrial Park to avoid relocating $2 million in underground gas lines for the purpose of realigning 16th Street. The 2008 acquisition list has the industrial park's price at $3.5 million, the 2007 acquisition list price was $1,250,000.

The 16th Street realignment has now shifted south of the abandon Conrail Corridor onto SIP's property. The revised map shows the road slicing into the buildings.  Noblet said the newer road alignment is necessary to slow traffic down. "We do not want a race track in front of the race track."

The SRC continues to lobby for the extension of Holt Road to 30th Street. The road is necessary with the proposed closing of Georgetown Road to alleviate traffic congestion for Tibbs Avenue and Lynhurst Drive. Harris and Fred Nation of the IMS plan to make a presentation to the Congressional delegation April 22.

Harris said the 16th realignment project costs have dropped from its earlier estimate of $70 million to a range of $30 million to $35 million. He said that is still very preliminary because it does not include right-of-way costs. He said that property taxes will be necessary to use as collateral to do the project, but expects the TIF revenues to cover the bond funds. The property taxes would include all of Speedway residents, not just the TIF area.

The SRC is currently funded by $2.9 million Bond Anticipation Note. The SRC still has not received its $600,000 abatement roll off from Allison Transmission. The SRC, like other local governments, is waiting for tax distributions due to the delay with reassessment. Noblet said the $600,000 abatement is earmarked for the SRC.

Harris said INDOT is planning to seek bids for US 136 improvements that include the northbound and southbound entrance to I-465. The I-74 interchange will start in 2010 and be completed by 2012. He also indicated that INDOT will be securing right-of-way acquisitions that will involve acquiring Red Roof Inn and West Wind Terrace Apartments.