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Upgrade money for former coke plant goes to community projects

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Citizens Energy Group is redirecting to community groups more than $413,000 that it was to spend on environmental upgrade projects at its former 2950 Prospect St. coke oven facility in Indianapolis, which was closed in 2007.

The community funding stems from an agreement with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Citizens prior to the plant closure had planned to spend the money on environmental projects at the plant in lieu of payment of civil penalty dollars to IDEM that resulted from enforcement actions in previous years.

Citizens already has provided $100,000 to the Central Indiana Community Foundation toward construction of the southeast corridor of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, which will connect downtown to Fountain Square.

The utility plans to provide more than $100,000 to the Indianapolis Housing Authority and to community development corporations in the county to support low-income rental unit weatherization.

Citizens is reserving another $50,000 for future weatherization projects, said spokesman Dan Considine.

Citizens will soon provide $50,000 for a block grant through the Indiana Finance Authority to support remediation of a brownfield site on LaSalle Street, near the former coke plant.

Other awards will include $50,000 for a block grant to the SustainIndy fund toward construction of a green roof at Union Station. Another $63,234 will be given to the Indianapolis ToxAway program to provide residents with free disposal of household hazardous wastes, Considine said.

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