Utilities Complex Status Pending

(posted Apr 9)
click on images to expand
The utilities complex (top) is currently slated to occupy the site of Praxair's lime pile (below)

Source: July 2007 final concept plan

The Speedway Redevelopment Commission is facing another delay with the Central Utilities Complex being placed on hold. The estimated $23 million facility was supposed to be in operation by September 2008, generating steam and pre-treating wastewater for Allison Transmission.

Indiana Citizen Gas Public Information Officer Dan Considine said "The project is on hold. A required service contract has not been secured."

Harris told the town council at their December 8 meeting that financing was being led by Town Manager Barbara Lawrence, and "we still anticipate issuing bonds in late January." The bonds are needed to pay off the $5.7 million bond anticipation note. Harris said SRC needed to acquire about 35 acres in the next six months "to obtain final commitments for development."

At its March 16 SRC meeting, President Vince Noblet said the SRC is holding off from issuing bonds until the SRC obtains commitments from stakeholders' investments to cover the bond debt with TIF revenues. The SRC is also looking for stimulus money to avoid using local tax dollars. Moody's investors service has rated Speedway Aa3, their top rating is Aaa. Carmel's redevelopment authority bonds are also Aa3.

The CUC project was a critical piece used by the SRC to receive the $62 million bond approval for road work from the Department of Local Government Finance during the June 28, 2008 hearing.

Attorney Jim Gutting told the DLGF things were on the "cusp with commitments" for development. He told the board that if the land was available, the Central Utilities Complex would begin construction the next day. Speedway Utilities Management LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Citizen Gas, will construct and operate natural gas fired boilers to serve Allison and future customers.

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission denied Speedway Utilities Management the ability to set its own energy rates without seeking IURC approval on June 4th. A partial appeal was filed which the IURC denied in August of 2008 .

Allison Transmission Public Relations Director Eric Dickerson said "I am not aware of the situation with Citizens Gas or our internal plans as they relate to steam."

Tim Snyder of Local Union 933 said the CUC would not affect the union's hourly workers.

The CUC project started before Allison changed ownership and Dickerson was hired. The SRC members spent time traveling to GM-Detroit when Allison was under its control to develop the plan. The SRC hired consultant Charles Fraley to help with negotiations.

Plans call for the CUC to be built on the south side of the proposed extension of Gilman where it will intersect with Polco. The site is currently owned by Praxair and is home to a large pile of lime. The SRC and Praxair have been unable to come to terms over the site's status.

When contacted by The Navigator on March 31 for an update on the CUC project, SRC Executive Director Scott Harris said he was out of town on vacation and would respond by April 6th. An April 6th email to Harris remains unanswered.