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Old December 9th, 2007, 07:44 PM   #241
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ISU Master Plan, Part 3

University community garden program would serve educational, humane purposes
By Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University has begun planting the seeds for a community garden program in Terre Haute.

ISU owns several empty lots around campus that could be used, said Kevin Runion, associate vice president for facilities management.

Community gardens could be used to grow food for the hungry, and the project could have an educational focus, as well, he said.

It’s also a way to beautify neighborhoods and bring communities together.

“We’re at the very, very, very early stages,” Runion said.

An initial meeting took place Wednesday at ISU. Runion and Nancy Rogers, director of the Center for Public Service and Community Engagement, led the meeting.

Those attending were John Etling, director of Catholic Charities of Terre Haute; Andrew Conner, executive director of Downtown Terre Haute Inc., who helped organize the downtown Farmers Market program; Candace Hack, education and volunteer coordinator with the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice; and Sister Terri Boland, a former school principal who has a strong interest in gardening and the environment.

Other interested community members are expected to participate in future meetings.

Rogers and Runion sought feedback from those attending about where the gardens should be located, what model would work best and how to proceed.

One proposed location was at 13th and Eagle streets as well as additional property across an alley at 12th and Eagle streets. The property is owned by ISU.

“There are multiple ways to operate a community garden, and we want to know what’s the best fit for this community,” Rogers said. “I’m pretty optimistic we’ll go forward with something, maybe even this spring.”

One possibility the first year would be to have one gardening site that could be used by different groups, she suggested.

The project could involve students, as well, from Ryves Youth Center and other community centers.

There are many different models that can be used, including individual family garden plots or community gardens to support a food pantry or food bank, Runion said.

In some communities, individuals or groups might lease ground for $5 or $10, and in return, they would agree to “plant a row for the hungry.”

Runion also sees community gardening as a way to promote the environment. The more people grow their own food, the less energy is used in terms of fuel needed for shipping.

“It’s really a way of educating folks about how little changes in their lives can make big changes in our life as a society,” he said.

Among the suggestions was to conduct a survey to learn more about community interest and to conduct neighborhood meetings in those areas where gardens might be located.

Conner suggested there might be people interested in growing flowers and herbs on some of the plots, items that could be sold at the Farmers Markets. Flowers and herbs are in high demand, he said, and those efforts also would beautify the land and neighborhoods.

Those attending were enthusiastic, but they realized much work needs to be done.

“I’m excited about it,” Boland said. “I know there are a lot of things that need to be considered. Pulling in community people, especially at the beginning stages, also is a challenge, but it’s important to do this if we will be successful.”

Hack offered to assist in whatever way needed, whether through gardening or assisting with an educational component. “I’m happy to lend my talents wherever I can,” Hack said.

The group will meet again early next year.

“All of this has exciting potential,” Runion said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or [email protected].
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Old December 9th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #242
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ISU Master Plan, Part 2

Prettyman hopes new athletic facility part of master plan
By Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A multipurpose, on-campus athletic facility for football, soccer and track/field is just a vision at this point.

But Indiana State University athletic director Ron Prettyman hopes it will become part of ISU’s new master plan, which is under development. The plan will address facility needs for the next 20 to 25 years, including academic, athletic, parking, technology and residence hall needs. It also will make recommendations related to enrollment.

Athletic facilities

On Thursday, Prettyman described two proposed athletic facilities, including an on-campus, multipurpose football/soccer/track and field facility that also could be used for non-athletic events, including outdoor concerts, movies or theater.

He also suggested a new fieldhouse facility that could be used for both practice and competition by volleyball, indoor track and tennis; all other sports could use the facility for practice.

A multipurpose athletic facility for football, soccer and track/field “is definitely a future consideration,” Tom Ramey, ISU vice president for student affairs, said in an interview several weeks ago.

It would cost up to $10 million to address repairs and deferred maintenance necessary at Memorial Stadium.

“If we stay out there, we’ll spend a ton of money … on a facility we don’t even own” that is two and a half miles from campus, Ramey said. “It’s tough sometimes to draw the crowds we desire.”

“Clearly, I don’t think this institution would build a stadium for football,” Ramey said. “If we were talking about some kind of new outdoor venue, it would have to be a multipurpose type of facility” that includes track and field and soccer.

Track and field is a championship program at ISU with serious facility issues. The outdoor track is built on unstable ground that must have regular, costly maintenance. It keeps settling and shifting and gets sinkholes and surface depressions.

In 2008, the track is slated to undergo about $150,000 in repairs.

There also is a need to improve indoor competition and practice space for other sports, including volleyball, which plays in the south gym of the Health and Human Performance Building; the south gym is not air-conditioned and temperatures become unbearably hot during games early in the season.

The track program does not have an indoor facility that can be used for intercollegiate competition.

ISU has to go to a Division 3 school, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, to accommodate its home meets for indoor track and field.

“There are lots of needs, fieldhouse kinds of needs,” Ramey said. “When you’re talking 20 to 25 years from now, that [arena] won’t be serviceable.”

At some point in the future, ISU would like to have baseball on the main campus, Ramey said. Currently, it is northwest of campus and across Third Street.


Academic planning


On the academic side, the university must consider facility needs for the new merged college known as Nursing, Health and Human Services. Presently, the merged college is located in two separate buildings on opposite sides of campus, formerly the Colleges of Nursing and Health and Human Performance.

The university will review whether the two should be in the same building, and whether an existing facility can be used or whether a new one is needed.

ISU also is looking at facility needs to expand its honors program and to provide a location that focuses on international programming, said Teresa Exline, university spokeswoman.


Residence halls


The future also may call for new residence halls to accommodate the expectations of today’s students. That includes air conditioning — something the high-rise residence halls at Sycamore Towers don’t have.

“Today’s students expect air conditioning,” Ramey said. Estimates on the cost to air-condition the high rise residence halls “suggest it’s not economically feasible.”

Long-term, ISU must find a solution, particularly if it wants enrollment to grow.

“If we’re talking about lower buildings with fewer stories, we’ll need more land mass” to build new residence halls, Ramey said.

ISU also will need more outdoor intramural facilities for flag football, soccer and softball, particularly if enrollment grows. “We’re already strained with what we’ve got,” Ramey said.

This fall, ISU had 86 flag football teams playing on two fields.

Recreation East, along North Ninth Street, is the primary location for outdoor intramural programs, including flag football.

Those facilities are important educationally, Ramey said. “We want to encourage healthy collegiate lifestyles,” Ramey said. “We want [students] to develop life habits that will carry well beyond their college years.”


Parking needs


ISU has lost about 40 percent of its largest parking lot and dedicated it to construction of the new Student Recreation Center.

That is an issue with students, Ramey said.

“We continue to tell students we don’t have a parking problem but a convenience problem,” Ramey said. But from students’ perspective, affordable, accessible parking is a problem.

ISU student Misty Churchill recently studied the parking dilemma as part of a class project and recognizes it’s a hot-button issue with students.

Some students have to park quite a ways from where they live on campus, she said.

ISU has provided students with a free parking lot on Chestnut Street east of the CSX railroad tracks, but it is not convenient and lacks adequate security, such as a Blue Light phone that can be used to contact campus security, Churchill said.

The facilities master plan will include parking recommendations, but whether it means more parking or relocated parking is yet to be determined, Exline said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or [email protected].
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Old December 9th, 2007, 07:46 PM   #243
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Indiana State University Master Planning...Part I

Indiana State has spent nearly $3.1 million purchasing 110 new properties since 2002

University developing long-term master plan

By Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University has acquired at least 110 residential and commercial properties since 2002 at a cost of nearly $3.1 million, with most of those parcels north and east of campus.

The university is expanding its physical footprint to prepare for facility needs that will be outlined in a new 20- to 25-year master plan under development, officials say.

Some of the properties have been purchased inexpensively through tax sales or through the city’s redevelopment department; some have been acquired from the ISU Foundation.

Property purchased in 2004 at 940 Chestnut St., the former Hardware Supply, cost the university $242,323. In contrast, seven properties purchased through city redevelopment cost only $1,000 total, according to information provided by ISU on property purchases for the past five years.

A few properties are east of 13th Street near the intersection with Chestnut, while some are north of Locust Street.

Although work on the new master plan began in 2005, it won’t be finalized until after a new ISU president is on board and has an opportunity to review it, officials said. Current ISU President Lloyd Benjamin will step down once his contract ends June 30, and trustees are searching for his replacement.

“We’re trying to put the institution in a position that it can appropriately grow in the directions it needs to grow” to meet academic and athletic needs, said Teresa Exline, university spokeswoman. “You can’t do that overnight, and many times, those needs are going to require land space; you have to position the institution so that when they finalize all these plans, you can start implementing some of them.”

The new master plan will address academic, athletic, parking, technology and residence hall needs. It also will address enrollment.

One facility being discussed is a multipurpose outdoor athletics facility that could be used for football, soccer and track/field, said Tom Ramey, vice president for student affairs.

While there’s widespread public speculation that it would be located east of the current main campus, Ramey said nothing has been decided, and such a facility would require significant funding.

“We are talking some distance in the future,” Ramey said. Whether it would be located east of the current campus or in some other location, “We don’t know yet,” he said.

At some point, ISU also would like to have its baseball facility on campus, he said. Now, it is northwest of campus across busy Third Street.

On Thursday, ISU Athletic Director Ron Prettyman also described a proposal for a new fieldhouse competition/practice facility. It could be used for both practice and competition by volleyball, indoor track and tennis; all other sports could use the facility for practice.

On the academic side, the university must consider facility needs for the new merged college known as Nursing, Health and Human Services. Presently, the two are in separate buildings on opposite sides of campus.

The university will review whether the two should be in the same building, and whether an existing facility can be used or a new one is needed.

A long-term goal in the master plan could include making the area near 13th and Chestnut streets ISU’s new eastern entrance, while the area along Locust Street between Third and Seventh streets could become a northern entrance to campus, said Kevin Runion, associate vice president for facilities management.

Gregg Floyd, vice president for business affairs, declined to put a timetable on when a master plan will become public. “We need to bring it to closure before we have public discussion,” he said. “The specifics haven’t really been fleshed out.”

Read the complete story here.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 08:19 PM   #244
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Statesman Towers

What's the status on the Statesman Towers at ISU? Wasn't the decision to demolish made several years ago? Have they reconsidered?
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Old December 9th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #245
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Quote:
Originally Posted by altfelix View Post
What's the status on the Statesman Towers at ISU? Wasn't the decision to demolish made several years ago? Have they reconsidered?
The demolition of the Statesman Towers, the tallest buildings both on campus and in the city, is planned for a few years from now. They currently house the Schools of Education and Business, which are moving (respectively) to the old Lab School and the former Downtown Post Office in the next two years. After that (2010?) the towers will be torn down.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 04:13 AM   #246
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That's what I've heard too. I hope they opt for implosion--I'd love to get a front row seat! Although I don't care for the buildings, they did receive some sort of state architectural award when they were completed. I'd much rather see a new stadium over that way...hint, hint.

Sources say that WTHI will be building a new building on the site of the former Fuson used car lot someday. (Next to Glidden Furniture) However, this may be on hold for now. Were they recently sold to another TV conglomerate or something?

Workers are back at the former Tribune, framing in windows and sealing off with plastic. They may be a better predictor of the upcoming winter than that silly groundhog! Cheers.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 07:10 AM   #247
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short story on the Paitson Bros demolition

from WTHI-TV:

Downtown Terre Haute Changing

Posted: Dec 10, 2007 05:24 PM

An old building in downtown Terre Haute is coming down.

The old Paitson Brothers building at 12th and Wabash is in the process of being torn down. The building has sat vacant for several years, but will soon be gone for good.

It was purchased earlier this year by a local dentist group, but News 10 is told there are no immediate plans for the site. In the future, either a dentist office or a professional build could be built.

News 10 was told demolition should be completed in about a week.
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Old December 12th, 2007, 03:01 AM   #248
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Paitson's

terrehautehouse.net has some interior pics and artifacts on their latest update
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Old December 12th, 2007, 05:43 AM   #249
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more updates!

ooh...and now they have added the former lab school photos:

http://terrehautehousenet.homestead.com/lab1.htm

That looks to be one awesome project!
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Old December 12th, 2007, 10:42 PM   #250
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Quote:
Originally Posted by borninfarrington_g View Post
ooh...and now they have added the former lab school photos:

http://terrehautehousenet.homestead.com/lab1.htm

That looks to be one awesome project!
Makes me tear up a bit - so many good JHS memories in the Lab School...I'm so glad the university and the state are spending the $$ to renovate that beautiful building.
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Old December 13th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #251
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WOW... 3 updates in a row and 12 more guaranteed. He's too busy...I'll believe it when I see it.

http://terrehautehousenet.homestead....christmas.html
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Old December 18th, 2007, 05:23 AM   #252
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40 years after I-70 opened in Terre Haute, it's impact has spread irreversibly
By Mark Bennett
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Two generations of Terre Hauteans can’t envision their city without Interstate 70 flowing through it.

But this town was a different place when Pat Martin was growing up near 13 Street and Margaret Avenue in the late 1950s and early ’60s. “I remember the landscape well — it was an orchard,” he said. On Sunday afternoons, Martin entertained himself by watching planes land at a small airfield nearby, Paul Cox Airport.

“It was a very rural area,” recalled Martin, now 58.

A 200-foot-wide ribbon of concrete changed everything in 1967.

Within minutes after the 11.33-mile stretch of Interstate 70 from near the Illinois state line to Indiana 46 opened on Aug. 31, 1967, its impact spread irreversibly. Motorists passing through Terre Haute no longer had to endure numerous stoplights and urban traffic jams along U.S. 40, America’s original east-west thoroughfare and our “National Road.” The downtown area, where growing congestion forced trucks to use Poplar Street instead of Wabash Avenue (U.S. 40), silenced. One-hundred cars and 500 semis per hour shifted from U.S. 40 to I-70, according to the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.

“For the first time in a quarter-century, it was quiet in the Poplar Street residential area,” said the late Mayor Ralph Tucker, who also hailed an instantaneous drop in the “air pollution problem in the city.”

Those frustrations left quickly. Eventually, many downtown businesses did, too.

In the 40 years since that segment of I-70 opened, the heart of the Wabash Valley’s retail and service industry migrated from the old Crossroads of America — the intersection of Seventh Street (old U.S. 41) and Wabash — to the new Crossroads of America — I-70 and U.S. 41. That “rural area” Martin described now brims with chain restaurants, gas stations, strip malls, hotels, Starbucks on both ends, car dealerships, cineplexes and retail plazas, anchored by the Honey Creek Mall.

Interstate 70 created a new Terre Haute.

Complete story here.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 12:43 AM   #253
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News Years Predictions!

1. New ISU Stadium to be announced, construction by 2010 (money came through for rail relocation study on Tippecanoe)
2. New Casino to be announced (was in Indy this AM; heard on Indy radio that Aztar is trying to transfer their license "to another city"...duh; I wonder where?!)
3. Burke will still be Mayor! Progress will prevail!

Not that I really want a casino; but I do want the riverfront cleaned up. Louise's has been demolished. The RV place is gone. The paper mill is getting cleaned up quick. The house next to the junk yard on 1st is gone. I'll drive 1st street tonight to verify my suspicions...gotta shop at the mall anyway. I look for much "urban blight" to begin disappearing on 3rd street in the next few months.
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Old December 21st, 2007, 01:15 AM   #254
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Them's some bold predictions - I'd like to see all of them come true!

I would wager that a casino is...eventually, on the way. Burke, however, looks like he's on his way out. The Stadium - a matter of time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by borninfarrington_g View Post
1. New ISU Stadium to be announced, construction by 2010 (money came through for rail relocation study on Tippecanoe)
2. New Casino to be announced (was in Indy this AM; heard on Indy radio that Aztar is trying to transfer their license "to another city"...duh; I wonder where?!)
3. Burke will still be Mayor! Progress will prevail!

Not that I really want a casino; but I do want the riverfront cleaned up. Louise's has been demolished. The RV place is gone. The paper mill is getting cleaned up quick. The house next to the junk yard on 1st is gone. I'll drive 1st street tonight to verify my suspicions...gotta shop at the mall anyway. I look for much "urban blight" to begin disappearing on 3rd street in the next few months.
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Old December 23rd, 2007, 04:17 PM   #255
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Oh well, I've been wrong before and I'll be wrong again. Hopefully, Burke will go down in history as the mayor that broke the strangle-hold on progress. I do hope that Mr. Bennett steps up to the plate "hitting homers". Seems like many generations in Terre Haute are too used to hearing "Ball four--take your base"...if you catch my drift.
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Old January 25th, 2008, 03:55 AM   #256
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Inland Port; New Commercial Center; Metro Layoffs

A Hoosier Inland port could be close to reality

Posted: Jan 24, 2008 05:55 PM

VIGO/ CLAY COUNTIES, Ind. - A plan for an inland port in parts of Vigo and Clay Counties could be closer to reality.

A bill sponsored by State Representative Clyde Kersey would provide for a study to figure out where the Hoosier Inland Port should be located. It's been a goal of Kersey's to bring the port to eastern Vigo and western Clay Counties since last year.

If it's eventually approved, the port would be able to accept goods, process them and then send them off via train, trucks and airplanes. The bill is headed to the full house.

**************************************************************

Published: January 22, 2008 12:23 pm


Thompson Thirft, Gibson Development offer $9.2 million for Vigo fairgrounds


Wabash Valley Fairgrounds could move west of current site
By Arthur E. Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Wabash Valley Fairgrounds board of directors is looking at a proposal to swap most of the fairgrounds property for $9.2 million plus 72 acres of land west of the existing site.

The proposal, put forward by Thompson Thrift and Gibson Development, was pitched to the Fair Board at its Jan. 10 meeting.

“The board is taking it under advisement,” said David Hartmann, president of the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds board. “So far no action has been taken.”

The more than 20-page proposal envisions most of the fairgrounds being turned into a large retail shopping area. A new fairgrounds would be built on 72 acres of land presently owned by Gibson Development just west of the existing fairgrounds site.

“We feel like there is an opportunity here to reshape the face of the U.S. 41 retail corridor,” said Paul Thrift of Thompson Thrift. “I believe strongly that this is the time.”

Terre Haute has been losing retail business to Plainfield and Evansville, Thrift said. A new retail facility, with large retailers currently not in the Terre Haute market, could help change that, he said.

Some large retailers have expressed an interest in the fairgrounds site, he said.

According to the Jan. 10 proposal, the new fairgrounds would sit on 91 acres, down from its current 130 acres of land. However, there is room for negotiation if the Fair Board wanted more space, Thrift said.

The fate of the Terre Haute Action Track, which sits in the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds, and a nearby drag strip, could be affected by the proposed deal. Thompson Thrift and Gibson Development are proposing three options for the racing facilities: Move them to the new fairgrounds, keep them where they are, or abandon them altogether.

A decision to relocate the racing facilities would cost the Fair Board around $3.2 million, according to the proposal. Leaving the race tracks where they are would reduce the cash portion of the offer from $9.2 million to $6.2 million.

Thompson Thrift also is offering to build the new fairground facilities, such as exhibit halls and a new grandstand for tractor pulls and other such events, for around $7.8 million. However, Thrift said, the Fair Board would be free to use any company they wish for that construction.

“We’re not telling them what to build,” he said. “We just wanted to show them something concrete.”

The timetable for the project is “aggressive” but realistic, said Greg Gibson, owner of Gibson Development. The plan calls for the new fairgrounds to open in May 2009 – before the new retail shopping facility would be completed.

“We wanted to offer them something with no down time,” Thrift said. Construction of the retail buildings could begin as early as September 2009, he said.

“I truly believe it’s a fantastic proposal for the Fair Board, for 4-H” and for the county as well, Gibson said. New development in the proposed retail area would generate new tax dollars for the county, he said.

The Fair Board voted a couple of years ago that they were not seeking to sell the fairgrounds property, board president Hartmann said. Some board members view the fairgrounds as a “nice green space,” he said, adding, however, that he cannot speak for the other members of the 27-person board.

Hartmann also noted that the existing fairgrounds has “some real positive things happening,” such as an upcoming world class dog show. He is also optimistic about the future of the Action Track and the 2008 Vigo County Fair, he said.

The Wabash Valley Fair Association is a private, not-for-profit organization.

Thompson Thrift, “has the best interest of this community at heart,” Thrift said. “We want to be involved in projects that benefit this community.”

If the Fair Board decided to take other bids for the fairgrounds property, “I would welcome that,” Thrift added. “We want to pay market value for it.”

Arthur Foulkes can be reached at (812) 231-4232 or [email protected].

*************************************************************
Great Dane Layoffs in Brazil

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - A few weeks ago, Great Dane announced 140 layoffs at their Brazil, Indiana plant.

Thursday, they announced another round of layoffs. This time at the plant in Terre Haute.

News 10 is told about 75 employees will learn on Monday that they'll be without a job beginning Monday. Great Dane's corporate office said that business has been in a continuing downturn for some time.

The struggling economy has finally reached the Terre Haute branch. Great Dane said the only way to deal with a lack of orders coming in, is to cut employees until business sees a boost.

Great Dane says they plan for the job cuts to only be temporary.
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Old January 30th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #257
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Ye shall know them by their lack of a work-in-progress sign
By Stephanie Salter
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — So, we’re heading into a national recession and a new mayoral administration that may or may not continue some of the many projects launched by the previous mayor.

All the more reason for the “Downtown Work In Progress” signs in buildings along Wabash Avenue and its adjoining side streets.

In other words, this is no time to be confused about who is actively trying to revitalize our downtown Terre Haute neighborhood and who is sitting on his or her rock-bottom property tax assessment, content to watch the mold grow on interior ceilings and walls.

The work-in-progress signs are the result of something I deeply believe in when it comes to the betterment of a community:

Teamwork.

Several months ago, I complained in this space about the mixed signals our non-retail main drag sends to residents and visitors, alike. I imagined that I was an out-of-town guest booked into the Hilton Garden Inn-Terre Haute House who decided to go for a stroll before dinner.

Leaving a nice, new hotel, the guest sees a bewildering array of attractive, well-maintained businesses and dowdy, abandoned-looking storefronts. Next to a warmly lit, bustling shop or restaurant are dead zones, their windows covered with plywood, fading paper or dust.

What conclusions could a visitor draw about our town from such contradiction?

Wouldn’t it be a good idea, at least, to distinguish the active work sites from those waiting for Godot? Shouldn’t we reward merchants and other business owners who really are trying with a little recognition?

Instead of getting defensive, Andrew Conner, who heads Downtown Terre Haute Inc., enthusiastically jumped into gear. He enlisted the help of billboard giant Lamar Advertising to come up with a unique sign that would cut through the confusion. All Conner asked was that Downtown Terre Haute Inc.’s skyline logo be incorporated.

Lamar’s local market manager, Jane Mills, gladly turned over the assignment to the company’s design team in Baton Rouge, La.

“Some of these people [who contract with Lamar] have very preconceived concepts of what they want on a sign or business card,” said Mills. “When somebody says to me, ‘Be creative,’ as Andrew did … the designers just go for it.”

What Lamar produced (for a discounted, very community-friendly price) is beyond anything I’d envisioned. Its bright yellow-and-gray color scheme looks like nothing else along Wabash Avenue. Between the city skyline and simple silhouette drawings of work tools, the Downtown Work In Progress signs convey movement, construction, renovation and … a future.

Best of all, signs have removable numbers to identify each project that — soon — can be matched and researched on Conner’s group’s Web site, downtownterrehaute.org.

When all the signs and Web references are in place, people won’t have to wonder what the plywood above 622 Wabash Ave. means. They can check the Web site and learn that apartments are going in above Pawn It.

Likewise, they can look forward to the opening of the expanded Book Nation across the street at 675 Wabash and the sight of local art for sale around the corner in a gallery at numbers 7 and 11 S. Seventh St.

Even on frozen days when workers and earth-moving equipment are idled, passers-by will know from an official sign that an extended-stay hotel and Children’s Museum will be rising next to Old National Bank’s parking lot. And if an artist, craftsperson or small retailer is in the market for a studio shop, she or he can note the Downtown Work In Progress project number on the old TWI building at 120 S. Seventh St., and call to see if it’s affordable.

“Instead of relying on word of mouth about a project or what’s vacant, people can just look at the Web site,” Conner said.

City councilman and bookstore owner Todd Nation said he likes the signs for the same reasons I do, chief among them — they delineate.

“It’s great because it identifies the people who are actually doing something,” Nation said. “I used to look for building permits in windows. That was my gauge. I hope we get to the point that my gauge is one of these signs in the window.”

Me, too. Then, when we homies or our visitors wonder just what’s shaking in downtown Terre Haute — and who among us is still satisfied with watching the mold grow — all we have to do is look for a sign.



Stephanie Salter can be reached at (812) 231-4229 or [email protected].
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Old February 13th, 2008, 04:46 AM   #258
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2/10/2008 8:14:00 AM
Proposal to buy fairgrounds has Wabash Valley residents talking and controversy stirred

(Terre Haute) Tribune Star

By Arthur E. Foulkes, The Tribune-Star

[email protected]

TERRE HAUTE - It's not cotton candy that's swirling around the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds these days - it's heated debate.

The controversy erupted like exhaust at a tractor pull last month after news leaked that local developers had offered the Wabash Valley Fair Association Inc. $9.2 million plus 72 acres of nearby land for the bulk of the present fairgrounds property.

The spotlight in this debate will be shining brightly on the Fair Association board on Tuesday night when the 27-member, all-volunteer body meets at the fairgrounds for the first time since news of the offer became public.

The meeting, which will be private, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the 4-H building at the fairgrounds, said David Hartmann, president of the Fair Association. The meeting can be closed to the public because the Fair Association is a private entity.

Proposal includes land swap

The offer to purchase the bulk of the fairgrounds property came from Terre Haute-based developers Gibson Development and Thompson Thrift. They propose buying 111 acres of fairgrounds property in exchange for $9.2 million and 72 acres of undeveloped land adjacent to and west of the current fairgrounds.

The proposal also includes possible modifications that would preserve the Terre Haute Action Track where it is or move it to a new location. It also calls for construction of an outdoor retail shopping plaza on the current fairgrounds property.

Opposition turns to the Web

Since the offer became public, members of the community have not been shy about commenting on it. Within hours of the news, a local 4-H member posted an online petition urging the Fair Association board not to sell the fairgrounds.

More than 150 people signed the petition in the first 24 hours and the total number had reached more than 2,500 by Friday afternoon.

The proposed new fairgrounds "would be out of the way for 4-Hers," the petition asserts, adding that business at the fair would also suffer due to lack of traffic.

A few days after the "Don't Sell" petition appeared, a second petition was posted on GoPetition.com.

This petition urges the Fair Association board to seek other bids for the fairgrounds property and to solicit public input. It also states that the fairgrounds are "deteriorating" and argues that new facilities would be better suited for handicapped people and seniors.

There were 23 signatures on the second petition as of Friday afternoon.

Also shortly after the proposal became known, a well-circulated e-mail appeared arguing that the $9.2-million for more than 100 acres of land is far too low. Public records show that just 3.8 acres of land - where Walgreens and Golden Corral now sit - near the fairgrounds sold in 2003 for $1.55 million.

Still others have greeted news of the proposal with cheers. Supporters of the proposal see it as an opportunity for progress, a modern outdoor shopping facility, economic development and an improved fairgrounds.

"The fairgrounds could use a great deal of improvement," said Dwayne Owens, a Terre Haute resident and one of the people signing the second petition. Parking at the fairgrounds can be difficult after heavy rains and the facilities are outdated, he said. "[The proposal] should be seriously considered," Owens said.

4-H Council gets behind fair board

Perhaps the best organized group interested in the fairgrounds is 4-H, the largest youth-serving organization in the country. Members of 4-H in Vigo County, numbering around 1,300 young people grades 3-12, use the fairgrounds for shows, meetings and many other activities.

"Everybody [in 4-H] wants to make sure that we will have adequate facilities" with good public access, said Lana Frazier, a 4-H leader and youth educator for the Purdue University Vigo County Extension Office. Frazier said 4-H uses around a dozen different buildings at the fairgrounds.

"There's a lot of buildings that will have to be replaced," Frazier said. "It's not just throwing up a few buildings."

Included in - but separate from - the fairgrounds proposal is an offer by Thompson Thrift to build new facilities, including 4-H facilities, for an estimated $7.9 million.

Purdue's Frazier drafted a letter to the Fair Association board president in January placing the confidence of the local 4-H Council in the fair board. The council voted unanimously to endorse the letter in a meeting last week, Frazier said.

"[The Fair Association board] has always held the best interest of the children and community in their decision making and we are comfortable in supporting what they decide," the letter states. "We could use new buildings and it would be an opportunity to develop a more modern fairgrounds if the grounds sell [however] ... we need to retain the ability for any child to be able to exhibit their 4-H projects at a fairgrounds that is visible to the community."

Good-bye Race Fans?

Apart from members of Vigo County 4-H, race fans are also keenly interested in the fate of the fairgrounds. Many signers of the "Don't Sell" petition specifically mention the Terre Haute Action Track as a reason to reject the proposed sale.

"Please keep this historic venue open for racing," wrote Steve Levinson of Studio City, Cal., the 628th person to sign the "Don't Sell" petition. "I was there in 1960 and 61," he wrote. Most signers of the "Don't Sell" petition are from the Terre Haute area, but many are from states as far away as Texas, Massachusetts and Florida.

"This is really an historic place," said Mike King, a member of DHK Promotions LLC and a longtime announcer for the Indianapolis 500. DHK Promotions is expected to take over operations at the Action Track and should release a 2008 event schedule soon, King said. The first race of the year is tentatively set for early May, he said.

Racing at the Action Track, a 1/2-mile dirt oval, "used to be one of the hottest tickets in racing," King said. The best American racers of the past 50 years, including A.J. Foyt, Gary Bettenhausen, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, all raced there, he said.

Still, King noted, the Action Track, which has operated for 56 years, has "lost a lot of its luster" in recent years and he does not blame Gibson or Thompson Thrift for making an offer on the property.

"If I were Greg Gibson [of Gibson Development] ... I would make an offer, too." King said. "Because what's been going on there has not been working."

Deal or no deal

Gibson Development and Thompson Thrift emphasize that a new fairgrounds would provide modern facilities that would serve 4-H members for years to come.

"We're talking about upgrading the fairgrounds," said Paul Thrift of Thompson Thrift. "We're talking about a new and improved fairgrounds that will serve future generations like the old [fairgrounds] built 50 years ago."

Thrift also says that the new retail shopping area would be a "very upscale, contemporary center," with landscaping and pedestrian ways. The plans presented in the proposal, however, are conceptual, he added.

But, at least for now, the majority of the fair board may be leaning toward rejecting the current offer.

"It's fine the way it is with the majority of the members," said Mike Morris, a member of the Fair Association board. "There's no plan to do things differently."

Board president Hartmann notes that in 2006 the board voted unanimously that the fairgrounds were not for sale. "We have to determine whether that is still the board's feelings," he said. Hartmann notes that no action has been taken on the proposal, which he said is the third since he has been president.

"We realize it's a valuable piece of property," Hartmann said. But so is Deming Park, he added.

Another source close to the Fair Association board who asked not to be named said he hopes the property does not sell. He also said he believes the land is worth around $45 million - not the proposed $9.2 million with 72 acres of adjacent land included. "I really hope they don't sell it," he said.

Farmland becomes retail hub

The Wabash Valley Fairgrounds opened for its first fair in 1949.

At the time, the property was advertised as being on South First Street Road, since U.S. 41 did not exist. In fact, the land around the current property was largely farmland 59 years ago.

"That was out in the country at the time," Gibson said. Today, the area around the fairgrounds is a busy retail hub for west-central Indiana and east-central Illinois.

For around 20 years prior to 1949, the Vigo County Fair took place where Memorial Stadium is on east Wabash Avenue. An effort led by the Wabash Valley Fair Association raised more than $30,000 to purchase the farmland where the fairgrounds is today, according to the Feb. 28, 1948, issue of the Terre Haute Saturday Spectator.

The amount raised to buy the farmland - $30,282 - is equivalent to around $260,000 today, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

According to then-published reports in the Saturday Spectator, the money to buy the approximately 130 acres of fairgrounds property was raised through a community wide effort. That effort sought to raise $1,000 from each of Vigo County's townships in just 30 days, the Spectator reported.

"A number of checks for large amounts have been received from Terre Haute firms and residents interested in the plans," reported the Saturday Spectator in January 1948. "Most of the donations have come from rural areas," the paper stated.

The Saturday Spectator also quoted then-Fair Association board president Paul Turner saying "a number of contributions have come from 4-H club boys and girls who are anxious to have their own fairgrounds." The original goal had been to raise $35,000, the paper reported. That goal was not reached.

Different things to different people

One thing seems clear, the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds means different things to different people. Some people see the grounds as a "people's park," that should be exempt from development. Others see the offer as a low-ball figure from developers trying to take advantage of the Fair Association.

Still others see the fairgrounds as a piece of land sitting on ground that, because of growth on the city's south side, is now suited for better uses. They also see this as an opportunity to capitalize further on Terre Haute's niche as a retail hub.

"All we've done is make a proposal which we hope everyone will take an objective look at," Gibson said. He and Thrift both say they encourage the Fair Association to talk to other developers if they believe the price they are offering is too low.

"If people think we are low-balling or trying to steal the fairgrounds," Gibson said, "where are [other proposals]?"

In 2006, the Fair Association board rejected an offer by Eureka Ventures of Carmel to buy the fairgrounds for $3.2 million plus land and facilities valued at another $3 million. Neither Thompson Thrift nor Gibson Development was involved in that offer, Gibson and Thrift both said.

Many have vested interested in the outcome

It is also clear that many local people and groups have donated considerable time, money and labor at the fairgrounds.

Labor unions have donated tens of thousands of dollars of work at the fairgrounds in recent years, Hartmann said. Members of 4-H also have put considerable time and effort in to maintaining their facilities, Frazier noted. And the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau has donated heavily to several different projects, said executive director Dave Patterson.

Between about 2000 and 2006, the fairgrounds received more than $400,000 in donations of money, labor and gifts, said Brad Anderson, a former Fair Association board president and current member of the Vigo County Council. Even ordinary taxpayers, through annual contributions to the 4-H through the County Council, have helped out.

"You're all getting the cart before the horse," board president Hartmann said of the news media's coverage of the fairgrounds offer. The board has taken no action. There has just been another proposal laid on the table, he said. Most of the people who have contacted him urge the board not to sell, Hartmann added.

"There's been countless hours of free labor ... so forth donated by people of the community," he said. "We have to be very cautious about what we do."


Article © © 1995-2008, The Tribune Star

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Old February 13th, 2008, 04:55 AM   #259
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Dorm Fire

A couple weeks ago there was a fire in Blumberg Hall at ISU, where I'm finishing up my undergrad in Geography. Here are two photos of the "aftermath":





Here is a photo of Mills Hall I took a while ago, but it is basically the same as Blumberg:

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Old February 13th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #260
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Fair Board rejects offer

Posted: Feb 13, 2008 12:02 AM

Updated: Feb 13, 2008 05:42 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - An offer for the Vigo County Fairgrounds is rejected. The Wabash Valley Fairground Association met Tuesday evening to discuss a land-swap proposal. A retail development project called Fairgate offered a deal that would relocate the fairgrounds and allow them to build an outdoor retail site at the current location. But some people weren't too happy with that idea, and their petition was heard Tuesday night.

Many members of the community say they have an attachment to the fairgrounds. Some feel the place has a strong history, and it's a tradition they don't want to change. Others feel selling and building a better place is progress; a way to keep Terre Haute more competitive. The meeting was closed to the public, but that didn't stop them from coming out. We waited with them for nearly two hours, and here's what happened.

The crowd was passionate about their fairgrounds. They came out in the cold to let the Wabash Valley Fair Association know how they feel. Connie Langman says she doesn't want the fair to move.

"If this fairgrounds get moved, nobody's gonna hardly come, because it's gonna be tucked back in the middle of nowhere," she says.

"We think this is where 4-H should be," says 17 year old Anthony Dinkel.

Dinkel started a petition to stop the sale. On Tuesday night, he turned in more than 2,500 signatures.

"The biggest response was from the racing community," says Dinkel.

The Action City Dragway thinks they're at a stand-still this season until the board reaches a decision.

"Hard to sell advertising when people don't know you're gonna be there," says Marty Sabla.

The Wabash Valley Fair Association met behind closed doors. Shortly after 8 o'clock, board president David Hartmann came out with a decision:

"At presently, I can say that our fairgrounds is not for sale," says Hartmann.

Reporter: "So are you rejecting the offer from Fairgate?"

"By not accepting it, I guess we are," says Hartmann.

To clarify, the Fair Association created a steering committee to get together a business plan for the fairgrounds. Board president David Hartmann says they are going to take a more proactive approach, so if a decision was made to sell in the future, it would be on their terms.

By: Liz Nichols

WTHI-TV
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