He said the Stellar Communities Crossroad Plaza at the corner of Michigan and Jefferson Streets submitted with the original stellar application wont’ be funded by an INDOT grant. Reese went on to say, “Due to various historical and property acquisition things it won’t work for the type of projects INDOT would fund.”
Reese said they are looking at the Trails Master Plan to find the best trail project to use the INDOT funding for Stellar Communities.
City Attorney Sean Surrisi said, “The Crossroads team was recently advised that the project would not be eligible for INDOT funding through the Stellar Communities initiative so we are looking at a trail project that will qualify for the INDOT funding.”
Reese presented a map with the proposed route that would connect Packard Woods and Freedom Park with area neighborhoods along Harrison Street and eventually ending up at Magnetic Park at the Conservation Club House.
The trail would be an improved sidewalk on the south side of Harrison Street. Reese said most of the route has enough right-of-way with it being a little tighter west of the railroad. A trail is typically 8 to 10 feet wide but the proposal is to be 6 to 8 feet wide in most places except where there are obstacles. The plan is to make it wide enough for walkers, joggers, kids on bikes and families walking with younger children.
Crossing Michigan Street/State Road 17 will required work with INDOT on how that can happen safely.
The timeline would be 3 – 4 years out with survey work, environmental, acquisition of right-of-way before construction. He estimated construction by 2025.
The city attorney spoke about the unfortunate decision of INDOT not to fund the Crossroads Plaza. He said, “While I know the Crossroads Plaza park is not a city park initiative, but I want to bring you up to speed on the issue.” He said the city is still intending to pursue the project but not through INDOT or stellar funds.
While some local businesses have stepped up to volunteer on the project, the city is currently working on getting the historical review of the building completed because that will be needed in the future, after Stellar when the city applies for grants to help complete the project.
Surrisi said the site was selected through a program through the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) in cooperation with IDEM. The POSI (petroleum orphan site initiative) program works with former gas station properties. This site had the tanks removed in the late 80’s and IDEM suspects everything is clear from the site, but if an issue is discovered the state will pay for any needed environmental assessment or remediation. The IFA is putting the property out to bid for consultants who do environmental work. They will handle the paperwork and on-site testing to see if there is any need for remediation of soils. The state would also pay for the remediation.
The city attorney said they hope to get the building demolished yet this year. He’s hoping that other funding mechanisms could keep the timeline of 2024 to 2025.
Surrisi will be informing the Stellar Crossroads Committee on the situation with the INDOT funds and seek their blessing to reallocate the funds to this new trail project. If that happens then they will seek INDOT’s approval of reallocating the funds.