Former Chevrolet plant site in Muncie eyed for solar farm

The site of a former General Motors Chevrolet plant in Muncie could become the home of a large solar farm once the central Indiana city completes a deal to buy the blighted property, officials said.

RACER Trust and Muncie officials said they have reached an agreement for the city to purchase the 53-acre main parcel of the former property. RACER Trust was created in 2011 to dispose of nearly 90 GM properties around the country, including the one in Muncie. Racer is an acronym for Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response.

Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour said the price the city would pay for the site cannot be released yet due to a non-disclosure agreement with RACER Trust over the pending sale.

The city has gotten two appraisals for the lot, and environmental studies are being conducted.

Muncie officials plan to build a solar farm on the property with up to 24.6 million kilowatt-hours of generating capacity, The Star Press reported. Construction and engineering will cost an estimated $17 million, officials said.

“This property’s unique combination of size and location make it ideally suited for a project that will make Muncie a regional leader in the generation of clean, renewable energy,” Ridenour said in a written statement.

He said a city selection committee has already chosen a developer to help build the solar farm, but that information remains part of non-disclosure agreements.

In its prime, the Muncie plant employed thousands of workers, but it closed in 2006. Plant structures, including a 190-foot smokestack emblazoned with the name Chevrolet, were eventually demolished, leaving only vacant lots behind.

RACER Trust will retain its environmental cleanup obligations for the property, working under the oversight of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

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