Big projects sought for chemical depot site

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The group overseeing redevelopment of a former Army chemical weapons depot in western Indiana is targeting major projects for the 11-square-mile property.

The Newport Chemical Depot Reuse Authority that formally took over the site last week is now marketing it as the Vermillion Rise Mega Park.

Reuse authority President Jack Fenoglio told Terre Haute Rotary members on Tuesday that the name refers to the rising up of new things from the depot.

"It is an industrial park, recreational park and hunting park," Fenoglio said. "The mega part represents the very large. Industrial developers who figure a mega site is 1,000 to 1,500 acres all in one piece. We think we have about three of those in place on the depot for three huge companies."

The Pentagon designated the 7,100-acre depot about 25 miles north of Terre Haute and 75 miles west of Indianapolis for closure in 2005. Destruction of the deadly VX nerve agent that was stored there was completed in 2008.

One possible project for the depot site is a 500-worker coal liquefaction plant first announced by Clean Coal Refining Corp., the Tribune-Star reported. The company has performed a feasibility study on using a 1,500-acre section of 4,200 acres designated for industrial development.

"Economic development is not sure until the bulldozer starts to move the dirt," Fenoglio said. "This deal is way up in the 90-percent range."

Planners have had disappointments since a deal fell through to attract military contractor Telic Corp., which planned to hire 500 workers for a manufacturing and development center at the Newport site.

The redevelopment plan calls for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to obtain 1,000 forested acres, with other sections set aside for farming and possibly hotels, restaurants and gas stations along Indiana 63 on the site's eastern edge.

Conservationists have opposed the plan, saying industrial development will destroy all but about 44 acres of the state's largest restored black-soil tallgrass prairie.

Fenoglio said one area of the depot property will be made into "a park with our own Stonehenge," with about 50 concrete pillars that were made with steel rebar and would cost millions of dollars to remove.


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  1. It is nice and all that the developer grew up here and lives here, but do you think a company that builds and rehabs cottage-style homes has the chops to develop $150 Million of office, retail, and residential? I'm guessing they will quickly be over their skis and begging the city for even more help... This project should occur organically and be developed by those that can handle the size and scope of something like this as several other posters have mentioned.

  2. It amazes me how people with apparently zero knowledge of free markets or capitalism feel the need to read and post on a business journal website. Perhaps the Daily Worker would suit your interests better. It's definitely more sympathetic to your pro government theft views. It's too bad the Star is so awful as I'm sure you would find a much better home there.

  3. In other cities, expensive new construction projects are announced by real estate developers. In Carmel, they are announced by the local mayor. I am so, so glad I don't live in Carmel's taxbase--did you see that Carmel, a small Midwest suburb, has $500 million in debt?? That's unreal! The mayor thinks he's playing with Lego sets and Monopoly money here! Let these projects develop organically without government/taxpayer backing! Also, from a design standpoint, the whole town of Carmel looks comical. Grand, French-style buildings and promenades, sitting next to tire yards. Who do you guys think you are? Just my POV as a recent transplant to Indy.

  4. GeorgeP, you mention "necessities". Where in the announcement did it say anything about basic essentials like groceries? None of the plans and "vision" have basic essentials listed and nothing has been built. Traffic WILL be a nightmare. There is no east/west road capacity. GeorgeP, you also post on www.carmelchatter.com and your posts have repeatedly been proven wrong. You seem to have a fair amount of inside knowledge. Do you work on the third floor of Carmel City Hal?

  5. I don't know about the commuter buses...but it's a huge joke to see these IndyGo buses with just one or two passengers. Absolutely a disgusting waste of TAXPAYER money. Get some cojones and stop funding them. These (all of them) council members work for you. FIRE THEM!