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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:03 AM   #81
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Dora Bros. to renovate Tribune Building into extended-stay Candlewood Suites with Terre Haute Children's Museum


By Austin Arceo
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A developer already investing in one downtown hotel believes that the time is right for a new hotel right across the street.

His company is spending the money to prove it.

The Dora Bros. Hospitality Corp., which will manage the Hilton Garden Inn-Terre Haute House at Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue, also will manage a Candlewood Suites, which will be built on the other side of Wabash Avenue. Tim Dora, a partner in the company, was on hand as the project was announced at the Tribune Building at 721 Wabash Ave. on Tuesday morning in Terre Haute.

“I noticed that there was no extended-stay product in this market,” Dora said during the announcement. “It’s a very growing product.”

The extended-stay hotel will not be alone in the project. The Terre Haute Children’s Museum will occupy three floors of a new building next to a renovated Tribune Building. The top three floors of the new building, along with the Tribune Building, will house the new extended-stay hotel.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring, with the new Candlewood Suites to open in spring 2008. The Children’s Museum is slated to open in August 2008.

Dora said that a firm analyzed Terre Haute to see if an extended-stay hotel would be a good fit. He added there were some concerns about the downtown location because of a lack of entertainment venues, which Dora feels can be overcome.

Vigo County currently houses 1,805 hotel rooms, which includes the Hilton Garden Inn-Terre Haute House and an additional hotel that have yet to open. But the new, 99-room Candlewood Suites fills a niche, and the quality of the rooms will help ensure their success, said David Patterson, the executive director of the Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau of Vigo County.

“It will raise the bars for those other hotels [in the county],” Patterson said, “and so consequently they’ll either sink or swim from there.”

The city of Terre Haute is contributing up to $2 million for the project. A $1 million loan backed by funds in the downtown tax increment finance district, or TIF, is for the hotel project, which is estimated to cost $8 million.

The city will spend up to $1 million more from the Economic Development Income Tax fund to match up to $1 million in new contributions for the Children’s Museum.

During the announcement, museum board chairman John Thompson said that a foundation has donated $100,000 to be matched by city funds.

Thompson said after the announcement that the museum has $2.9 million — which includes the $1 million commitment from the city — of the $4.7 million needed for the new project.

Terre Haute Mayor Kevin Burke was impressed that the public and private sectors teamed with a not-for-profit in the new project.

“That’s an amazing level of cooperation,” Burke said, “and I tell you what … when people start cooperating together and working toward a common goal, there’s no stopping them.”

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or [email protected].
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 02:05 AM   #82
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Given the recent development in this area, it may only be a matter of time before some of these projects are initiated...

ISU survey: More than 75 percent think development would enhance TH quality of life

By Austin Arceo
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute native Kim Slaven likes the idea of having more things to do near the Wabash River.

She’s not the only person who feels that way.

A survey conducted by the Sociology Research Lab at Indiana State University and commissioned by the city of Terre Haute found that more than 75 percent of people believe that development along the Wabash River would enhance the quality of life in Terre Haute. Nearly 90 percent of people surveyed think that a riverfront walk is a good idea, and more than 85 percent of people felt a public garden near the river was beneficial.

“They should build it up … because we need it,” Slaven said of the riverfront while at The Meadows on Wednesday evening.

The survey of about 600 people was the first of six that will be conducted for the city of Terre Haute. The city paid $16,550 for the surveys, which will be conducted each spring and fall until early 2009.

More than 20 questions on the first survey dealt with riverfront development. Other results from the survey will appear in a future edition of The Tribune-Star.

The Wabash Riverfront Development and Beautification Inc., a committee that recently received approval for status as a not-for-profit corporation, has designed a long-term riverfront development plan for the Wabash River. The group proposes commercial and residential development along the eastern bank of the Wabash River, with a wetlands preserve and green space west of the river.

“Our committee welcomes input from the survey,” said John Mutchner, chairman of the not-for-profit. “We are concerned about what people think.”

About 57 percent of survey respondents who knew of the committee’s plans before the survey approved of the riverfront development project, and a similar amount of people who first learned of the project during the survey approved the plans.

“As a committee member, I feel like we’re obviously moving in a direction that the city is interested in moving us towards,” said Terre Haute communications director Peter Ciancone, “so we’re very interested in the results.”

Tom Steiger, director of ISU’s Sociology Research Lab, noted that it’s interesting that a similar percentage of respondents favored the plan regardless of when they learned of it.

Only 16 percent of people who were aware of the plan opposed it, compared with 11 percent of people who first learned of the project during the survey.

Twenty-four percent of people who already knew about the committee’s plans at the time of the survey had no opinion, while 28 percent of people learning for the first time had no opinion.

In addition to favoring a riverfront walk and a public garden, more than four-fifths of respondents indicated that restaurants with river-view dining were good development projects.

Less than half of respondents believed that a casino was a good idea, which Ciancone noted “didn’t tell us anything that we didn’t already know.”

Mutchner said that the committee discussed the prospect of a casino with government officials but committee members decided “that we simply would not go there.”

Some controversy stirred this fall when Terre Haute officials approached residents from Dresser, a small, unincorporated residential area just west of the Wabash River, about buying land for the project. But several committee members have previously told The Tribune-Star that eminent domain would not be used to obtain land in Dresser. Rather, property would be acquired from willing sellers.

Mutchner said that the committee is about to begin applying for grants for the project. The city of Terre Haute allocated $200,000 this year and $200,000 in 2007 for riverfront development. Vigo County allocated $100,000 more this year and $100,000 in 2007.

Mutchner believes the plan “is the best public project to come down the road in Terre Haute in many, many years.”

“We’re not talking about [fixing] potholes here,” he said. “We’re talking about changing the face of Terre Haute.”

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or [email protected].
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:29 PM   #83
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ISU Student Recreation Center



ISU gets approval to build new $21.7 million Student Recreation Center


Thursday, February 15, 2007
By Sue Loughlin, The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE - Indiana State University received final state approval Wednesday for a $21.7 million Student Recreation Center.

The State Budget Committee approved the 109,420-square-foot facility, which will house a three-court gymnasium; a recreational aquatics facility and "wet" classroom; a fitness center with machines and free weights; climbing wall; elevated jogging/running track; multi-purpose activity rooms; a multi-activity court suitable for indoor soccer, roller hockey and other activities; locker rooms and meeting rooms.

The center will be located on the parking lot north of Cunningham Memorial Library.

The project will now go to bid, and construction is expected to begin in late spring. The targeted opening is spring semester 2009.

"I'm pleased this project has been approved," said ISU President Lloyd Benjamin.

It will become a destination for students, whether they live on campus or commute, and it will help recruit students, he said.

"It will add to the quality of student life," Benjamin said. Students today are health conscious and want a place where they can work out regularly and be with friends.

He praised Student Government Association leadership for its efforts to move the project forward.

The project, initially slated for groundbreaking last fall, underwent some revisions and cost reductions before securing state approvals.

The cost has been reduced from $24 million to $21.7 million.

Among the revisions, the facility will use more brick and less limestone and the ceiling height in the gym will be lowered. There are other changes affecting interior finishes, furnishings and equipment. The aquatics area will not have a "lazy river," as had been proposed in some preliminary renderings.

Also under the changes, private fundraising will cover $6.5 million of the facility's cost, while the remainder will be paid through student fees. ISU agreed to raise the private funding share by $1 million.

In another change, the maximum fee students pay will be reduced from $120 to $100 per semester.

Last fall, students already began paying fees for the facility. Upperclassmen, who are less likely to use the facility, currently pay less than freshmen and sophomores.

As its name suggests, the facility would be dedicated to student recreation and fitness, and it would not be used for academic instruction or intercollegiate athletics.

The state budget agency requested additional information on the project before granting approval.

A.J. Patton, Student Government Association president, said the new recreation center "is a positive addition to the campus ... It symbolizes growth within the university and a new spirit of cooperation between student government and the administration."

The project will bring together various existing fitness facilities and replace outdated ones, such as the Arena Pool, built in 1961.

The student recreation center concept received early support from student leaders on campus who agreed that more recreational opportunities were needed.

A student referendum was conducted in 2005; about 10 percent of ISU students voted, and they approved it by a 2-1 ratio.

Although no state funding will be used to build the facility, state approvals were required before construction could begin.

"We are grateful for the legislative support given to this project, especially from our local representative, Clyde Kersey, in moving this project forward. It has been two years of hard work on behalf of a number of people to make this a reality for our students," Benjamin said.

Not all students are enthusiastic about the facility. James Narmore, an ISU junior, doesn't expect to benefit from the facility much even though he is helping pay for it through student fees.

He believes the money could be spent in better ways than a new recreation center.

Natalie Scott, a freshman and music major, said the new recreation center "sounds really nice, but I probably won't use it." She's a music major, and has very little free time.

Scott is a little bothered that she's paying a fee for something she may not use much, but she still supports the project. "It will benefit a lot more people, so I'm willing to help pay for it," she said.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:32 PM   #84
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Update: City Council OKs TIF district for downtown hotel

2/9/2007 5:00:00 PM
Terre Haute City Council OKs financial incentive for extended-stay hotel

(Terre Haute) Tribune Star
By Howard Greninger, The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE - A financial incentive for a private developer to build an extended-stay hotel in downtown Terre Haute received approval from the City Council on Thursday in an 8-1 vote.

Earlier Thursday, the city's Economic Development Commission unanimously recommended the City Council approve a revenue bond as an incentive to build Candlewood Suites, at the former Tribune-Star building on the southwest corner of Eighth Street and Wabash Avenue.

The commission conducted a public hearing before its vote, however no public comment was given. Councilman Ryan Cummins, R-2nd, was the lone dissenter on the issue.

Under the agreement, the city of Terre Haute agrees to allow taxes generated from the Hilton Garden Inn, currently under construction, and the proposed Candlewood Suites in the city's downtown tax increment finance or TIF district, be used to make bond payments.

City taxpayers would not be responsible for payment of the bonds, under the agreement.

The bond issue would not exceed $1.38 million. It will likely be around $1.37 million, said Gary Malone of H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, an Indianapolis accounting firm.

Of that, $1 million would be paid to Wabash Valley Hotel Partners LLC, owner of Candlewood Suites. The principle partner is Dora Brothers Hospitality Corp., which is building the Hilton Garden Inn.

A separate account containing $212,864 from the bond would be established to pay interest costs through Feb. 1, 2009 while the Candlewood Suites is built.

Any TIF payments for the Candlewood Suites project, under the agreement, would be secondary to TIF payments for a 1998 bond that funded the city's existing downtown parking garage and a bond for the construction of the city's second garage/bus transfer center now under construction on the campus of, and in cooperation with, Indiana State University.

If TIF funding is not enough to make a bond payment, Wabash Valley Hotel Partners LLC would have to pay the difference. The annual bond payment is projected at $180,000.

The maximum interest rate anticipated for the bond is 8.5 percent, over a maximum of 15 years. The bond essentially allows Wabash Valley Hotel Partners to use its property taxes to pay off the bond.

Candlewood Suites is projected to generate $80,000 in taxes and the Hilton $153,000, both in 2009, according H.J. Umbaugh & Associates.

An estimate for taxes in 2010 was based on a 2 percent circuit breaker law taking effect, which would reduce Candlewood Suites property taxes to $65,000 and the Hilton to $124,000 in 2010, enough to cover bond payments.

The extended-stay hotel, with 99 rooms, is expected to create 15 full-time jobs and one part-time job, with the company paying $358,000 annually in payroll and benefits.

In other business, the council amended its city ordinance on standards for the location of adult-oriented businesses to conform to constitutional requirements imposed by state and federal court decisions.

The council unanimously voted to reduce the distance between such a business and a residential area to 500 feet instead of 1,000.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:33 PM   #85
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Demolition to begin soon for new downtown hotel



An old postcard of the Tribune Building. The gutted theater to the left with be torn down, and a twin to the old newspaper building will be built, as seen above.



Tribune Building demolition, Candlewood Suites work set to begin next month

By Austin Arceo
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE— Construction workers toiling on the new hotel sprouting downtown soon will witness their colleagues revamping two historic locations across the street.
Demolition work on the Tribune Building property in the 720 block of Wabash Ave., the future site of an extended-stay hotel and the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, could begin as early as next month.
The museum and Candlewood Suites, which will join the Hilton Garden Inn-Terre Haute House across the street as downtown hotels, are part of a joint development project announced in December.
“I think that this announcement and the activity downtown with the extended-stay hotel and the museum is simply one more positive indicator of the dynamic energy that is flowing in our community right now,” said Cliff Lambert, executive director for the city’s Redevelopment Department, “and it will do nothing but help us.”
The Tribune Building’s interior will be demolished, said Tim Dora, a partner in the Dora Bros. Hospitality Corp., which will manage the Hilton Garden Inn and Candlewood Suites.
Some architectural design work needs to be completed and work needs to be put out to bid before the interior demolition can begin, he said.
Demolition of the structure next to the Tribune Building, the new museum site, will likely begin in April or May, said Bill Hann, a member of the museum’s board of directors.
Since the announcement of its new location, museum officials hosted several discussions with local organizations and “just heard nothing but positive feedback about the move,” Hann said.
Dora Bros. Hospitality Corp. recently opened a Candlewood Suites in Indianapolis, which Dora said will be very similar to the Candlewood Suites to open in Terre Haute.
“It really turned out great,” Dora said of the Indianapolis hotel. “I think everybody would be very impressed.”
The City of Terre Haute contributed $1 million for the Hilton Garden Inn-Terre Haute House and an additional $1 million loan for the Candlewood Suites.
The City Council approved a financial incentive package for the Candlewood Suites earlier this month, with one vote against. Ryan Cummins, R-2nd, said he disagrees with the government using tax revenue to help finance the hotel.
Councilman Todd Nation, D-4th, whose district includes downtown, voted for it because the projects fall within development guidelines of the Downtown Action Agenda, a city-funded research effort published five years ago to encourage proper downtown development, he said.
City officials also obligated up to $1 million in matching donations for the new Children’s Museum. Hann would not comment on the amount raised to date for the museum, instead referring the inquiry to fellow board member Steve Schrohe. Schrohe, the head of the board’s marketing committee, declined comment, saying a news release is expected to be issued Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, construction crews are a few weeks behind schedule on the Hilton Garden Inn. The hotel previously scheduled to open this summer will likely open by Sept. 1.
The new Terre Haute House will be the first open hotel at the site in more than 30 years.
Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or [email protected].

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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #86
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Terre Haute Brewing (second oldest in US) expanding production




(see also: http://indianabeer.com/breweries/Brew-TerreHaute.html)
2/28/2007 1:09:00 PM
Terre Haute Brewing may shift production to capitalize on changing market

(Terre Haute) Tribune Star
Crystal Garcia, The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE - The Terre Haute Brewing Co. will make more than Champagne Velvet beer by the end of May.

Brugge Brasserie of Indianapolis is in final negotiations with the brewing company to launch the bottling and distribution of its Belgian brews for a statewide audience, according to a news release.

A line of specialty beers also is expected to be produced and developed by Brugge as part of the agreement.

Although Brewing Co. owner Mike Rowe isn't sure when he'll produce more Champagne Velvet, he said he has enough in the reserve to maintain his current draft accounts.

Rowe also noted that neither Champagne Velvet, the trademark nor the business have not been sold. He also emphasized all banquet reservations will be honored and "anyone who wants out will be refunded."

"There's no question the demand in the market is there for CV," Rowe said. "It's just huge, but the resources have to be there for distribution."

Production for Brugge starts as soon as everything is signed and the federal government approves their brewer's notice, said Brugge's Ted Miller.

A possibility for Champagne Velvet, Rowe said, is starting a Champagne Velvet Brew Pub which would be "a typical pub with an older flair," but so far that has only been in discussion.

"I've poured a lot of everything in efforts and resources into this," Rowe said. "I think it's a positive thing for Terre Haute. It's one of those legacies in town that I would like to see continue."

Once production starts, there will be nine to 10 different beers in the regular production cycle throughout the year with six to eight seasonal specialties, Miller said.

Maximum capacity for the Brewing Co. is 3,000 cases in a month, Rowe said. There are five full-time workers and four part-time workers, but Brugge expects to bring in 20 more employees by 2008.

What once was the seventh-largest brewery in the United States in 1892, the original Terre Haute Brewing Co. was established in 1837. It survived Prohibition and closed in 1958 when it was bought by the Atlantic Brewing Co., according to the Brewing Co.'s Web site.

It was re-opened in 2000 after Rowe found the original recipe for the beer when he and his wife were renovating the building, and bought the Champagne Velvet trademark.

Located at Ninth and Swan streets, the Brewing Co. is now the second oldest brewery in the United States.

This history was part of the appeal to Miller, he said, and he hopes to add to it.

"The history is spectacular. The rich, rich brewing tradition of Terre Haute screams cool to me," Miller said. " ... I think we can really contribute to that heritage, especially since our beers are very old world."

Other appeals to Miller about choosing the Brewing Co. were the facility's capabilities and location, he said.

"We're really excited to come over there," Miller said. "This is really a stepping stone on our way to hopefully becoming one of the dominant brewers in this state."

More details will be available once contracts are finalized, including launch activities.


Article © Copyright © 2007 Tribune-Star
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #87
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Five Year Review of the Terre Haute Downtown Action Agenda


Looking south along 7th Street (old US 41/Dixie Bee Highway) from the ISU campus toward the new multimodal parking structure and the Hilton Garden Inn/Terre Haute House, under construction.

Downtown Action Agenda revisited:
Five years later, HyettPalma's proposal nears completion

By Robert L. Flott
WVJB Editor

On February 4, 2002, a large group of Terre Haute residents met in the Vigo County School Corp. to hear a presentation by Doyle G. Hyett and Dolores P. Palma.
Their presentation, known as the Downtown Action Agenda, was hailed as a new blueprint for Terre Haute by some. Others view DAA as just another plan, which would end up sitting on a shelf gathering dust.
Both were proven right.
The city commissioned HyettPalma Inc. in 2001 to determine a Downtown Enhancement Strategy to revitalize the downtown area The study cost $50,000. Hyett Palma met city officials, business owners, and members of the community to determine the desires and needs of the community as a whole.
The 120-plus page report made several recommendations on specific courses of actions, for private and public bodies alike. Depending on how they are counted, there are 44 or so actions required for implementation of the DAA. Some have been eliminated from consideration because the organization sponsoring that action--such as the Urban Enterprise Association--no longer exist.
The group given the task of carrying out the DAA was Downtown Terre Haute Inc. Todd Nation, now city council representative for the Fourth District that includes downtown Terre Haute, was president of DTTH at the time.
"It involved a lot of people back then," Nation said. "If you ask people today, they'd say, 'yeah, well some stuff,' but they would not say most or all of it."
"Most of it has been accomplished, and that's the story that's lost on most people," Nation said. "It rarely gets mentioned in wider circles, but things such as Andrew [Conner's] hiring [as executive director], it's all part of the plan. Few take the time to connect the dots."
Downtown is home for Nation, who lives above his bookstore at 677 Wabash Ave. Nation owns the building and takes pride in having restored the facade to as near its original look as possible.
The building also is home of The Verve, one of downtown's most popular night spots.
"For many of us, it became our blueprint," Nation said. "For once, we had consensus. Instead of saying, 'let's do this,' or 'let's do that,' we got together and embraced it as a plan."
Andrew Conner, now executive director of DTTH, worked for the Indiana Department of Commerce at the time. The Journal of Business asked both men to reflect on the success and failures of the DAA five years later.
"The Downtown Action Agenda has been fulfilled, almost in spite of itself," Conner said. "Many parts of it have been accomplished although not with the intention of completing the DAA."
This review is not intended to suggest that DAA was the primary, secondary, or even tertiary cause of the following events. It simply seeks to compare the DAA's list of actions with those actions that have taken place (Y = accomplished task;ip = in progress task;. N = canceled or not pursued task).


Partnership actions
Y Adoption--The Common Council of Terre Haute passed a resolution supporting the adoption of the DAA in March 2002. While not a rousing endorsement, the council did acknowledge the study.
Y Implementation--While not technically approached by the Burke Administration as a guideline for downtown development, many of the improvements, such as the new streetlights, trash cans and benches were a big part of the overall goal of the DAA.
Y Partnership--Downtown Terre Haute Inc., took emotional and spiritual possession of the Downtown Action Agenda. Indeed, Doyle Hyett placed the responsibility of implementation directly into the hands of DTTH.
He encouraged the group to find downtown office space and hire an executive director. Andrew Conner filled the executive director. Ironically, the building where DTTH was supposed be located, the Prudential Building, was recently leveled.
Y Funding--the Downtown Area currently has a TIF district. The proceeds from this district have been used for several downtown projects including both of the Dora Brothers projects currently underway.
Other projects include the sidewalks around Smith- Barney Plaza at Fourth Street and Wabash Avenue.

Real Estate Development and
Improvement Actions
Y Existing Buildings--Several existing buildings have not only been renovated, they have attracted national attention. The Ohio Building was featured on Home and Garden TV. Other buildings such as the ThompsonThrift Building and Goetz Printing have given new life to old structures.
Hulman and Co., continues to refurbish its building, and has added shops, restaurants, museums--nearly everything the DAA suggested--all in one space.
Granted, the biggest downtown structure at the time of the study, the Terre Haute House, is now gone, as are the other buildings on that half block. Those buildings are being replaced.
One missing building is a bit of a surprise. The ISU Foundation purchased the Prudential Building for use by various departments. During the restoration process, structural faults were discovered that were deemed too costly to repair.
ip Housing--Upstairs housing continues to improve, with approximately 200 people living downtown.
ip In-fill--Construction on the Cherry Street Project, the Hilton Garden and the Clabber Girl Building well underway, and construction about to begin on Candlewood Suites in the former Tribune-Star building, in-fill is clearly successful.
Y Design Review--While not necessarily the same thing as a design review, DTTH worked through the Common Council to pass Special Ordinance 17, which set limits and guidelines for new downtown construction, including number of stories, new parking and building set-backs.
Area Planning is also currently developing a new Comprehensive Zoning Plan, which could also impact new construction downtown.

Traffic, Parking &
Transportation Actions
Traffic
The Traffic portion of the study have been almost entirely ignore, and for several reasons, which are explained below.
N One-Way Streets--Turning Cherry and Ohio streets back to two-way streets would require approval beyond the powers of the city of Terre Haute as both are part of US 40.
Fourth and Fifth streets now have diagonal parking. Thus the city created additional parking spaces instead of reverting one-way streets.
N Third Street--Third Street is an on-going concern for all levels of government. Third Street is also U.S. Highway 41, and as such the Federal and State governments come into play.
ip Traffic Lighting Timing--The various departments responsible for traffic lights continue to work on Timing. Because of the amount of construction currently underway downtown, proper timing is probably several years away.
ip Street Signs--Street signs are fairly consisted within the downtown area.
ip Wayfinding Systems--A year or so after the unveiling of the DAA, DTTH met with several groups from ISU, Ball State, and St. Mary-of-the-Woods to explore several ideas for wayfinding systems.
Parking
Y Existing Parking Garage--With free parking on weekends, the city parking garage provides space during the various downtown events. During the week, use drops off.
ip Cherry Street Parking Garage--Ground was broken on the Cherry Street Multi-Modal Transportation facility in November, much to the delight of many.
Y On-Street Parking Spaces--The addition of diagonal parking on Fourth and Fifth streets, plus some additional spaces on Sixth have considerably increased available parking downtown.
N Parking Study--Several park studies contributed to the new spaces.
Y Reserved for Parking signs--This issue primarily focused on reserved spaces for loading zones. Area Planning tends to frown on these issues, Conner said.
ip Future Parking Supply--Future parking may find a home in the site of the current city bus transportation center, located at Fifth Street and Wabash Avenue.
Transportation
Y Trolley--The Department of Transportation is currently looking for additional sponsors for more "Free Ride Fridays." There is also an aggressive marketing campaign to encourage people to ride the bus.
Y Students--Of 1,737 students who participated in a referendum on the ISU campus, 1,253 voted to add an additional $15.76 per semester fee that would allow students to ride the city busses.

Business Retention Actions
Y Small Business Development Center--The SBDC remains a resource for those seeking to location within the downtown area.
Current director, Tara Lane, is the former director of the Urban Enterprise Association, and is well-versed in downtown development.
ip Targeted One-on-Ones-- Several downtown business owners, such as Boo Lloyd, owner of the Crossroads Cafe, have worked with those interested in locating businesses downtown.
ip Business Hours--"This is a chicken-and-the-egg situation," Conner said. "Without foot traffic, there is little need for extended hours, but without businesses, there is no foot traffic."
Still Conner acknowledges that some businesses have extended their hours.
Y Business Windows--Downtown businesses are constantly working on improving their store fronts. Many do sport new lights and more attractive displays.
Y Public Safety--Crime overall in Terre Haute has dropped significantly over the last few years, primarily due to new laws aimed at curbing meth.
ip Riverfront Development Project Areas--The original concept was to encourage development of restaurants and bars down by the river.
Since last year, a new project, led by local contractor John Mutchner, has been exploring new developments on both sides of the river, including developing a wetlands area near Dresser.

Business Recruitment Actions
Y Recruitment Actions--Several groups continue to work toward recruiting new business to the downtown.
The biggest source for downtown recruitment has been the downtown merchants themselves, who have directed perspective new business owners to landlords willing to work with business start ups.
Y Incentives--The downtown Tax Increment Finance District has been the source for incentives for downtown projects. Other projects, such as the new Clabber Girl facility, have used Tax Abatements.
Y Clustering--The new businesses have clustered naturally. There is now a strip of restaurants, bars, night clubs and coffee shops running from Ninth Street to Third Street.
These include the Terminal, the Copper Bar, The Crossroads Cafe, The Verve, Market Bella Rosa, Wim's, and the Coffee Break. Further down the road are the Saratoga and the Coffee Grounds.

Beautification Actions
Y Street Scape Improvement Projects--Two summers ago, the city begin replacing street lights, park benches and trash receptacles downtown.
ip Maintenance--The original idea was a group of uniquely uniformed maintenance personnel, who would work the downtown area exclusively. This was tried during the Anderson administration.
While not pursed the same way by Mayor Burke, downtown maintenance has been fairly efficient.
In addition, private groups such as Graffiti Busters, organized by Neil Garrison, has brought together high school and middle school students to paint over graffiti downtown, and around Terre Haute.
Garrison, a Democrat candidate for fifth district city council, has funded much of this effort through personal funds and private donations.


Y Focal Points--for the past few summers, Arts Illiana has sponsored Friday lunch concerts at the stage located at the Parking Garage. These events have proven quite successful at transforming this space into a downtown focal point.
Blues at the Crossroads has kept alive the tradition of the "Crossroads of America" by bringing several thousand fans to Seventh and Wabash the second Saturday of September.
The Terre Haute Oberlanders have transformed the corner of Fourth and Cherry into the home of Strassenfest in the spring and Oktoberfest in the fall.
Two events--the Terre Haute Street Fair and the Brickyard Barbecue--have turned Ninth and Cherry streets into a festival area as well, in only a couple of years.
DTTH also sponsors a Farmer's Market at the parking lot at Ninth and Cherry on Saturdays during the summer.
ip Public Art--Much work has been done in this area. Several new commercial galleries have opened Downtown since February 2002. In addition, the space above the Crossroad's Cafe continues to house several artists.
Work continues on placing public art into the downtown area.

Marketing Actions
Y Markets--The downtown merchants have developed along the lines suggested by HyettPalma. There are many specialty shops, coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants and more, many of which opened since the DAA.
Image--Downtown Terre Haute is current a work in progress. There have been dozens of new businesses opened, and several major construction projects, with more on the way.
Y ISU Involvement--As ISU continued to expand across Cherry Street, the role of the University in the Downtown will continue to grow. The Downtown merchants benefit greatly from patronage from ISU students and faculty.
ip Image Development--Downtown Terre Haute has seemed to embrace the image of a business and arts center. Several restaurants offer outside dining during warm weather. The various clubs bring hundreds of people downtown on weekends.
Y Arts Corridor Brochure and Web Site--A brochure for the Arts Corridor is available at the Visitors and Convention Bureau, Arts Illiana, the Clabber Girl Museum, the Chamber of Commerce and other downtown locations.
No specific Arts corridor website available as of yet.
Y Events--Several events--Blues at the Crossroads, The Brickyard Barbecue, the Terre Haute Street Fair, the ISU Homecoming Parade and the Holiday Walk have become staples of downtown activity. ISU attempted to move the homecoming parade away from Wabash Avenue, but returned it the following year.
Y Festival Park--Three such areas have been developed: Seventh and Wabash, Fourth and Cherry and Ninth and Cherry.
Y Visitor Information Center--With the Chamber of Commerce now in the Center City Building and the Visitors and Convention Bureau in Commerce Plaza, visitors have two highly visible locations for information on downtown events.
ip Joint Ads-- This part of the DAA is no longer applicable in one sense, but is still alive in another. The DAA called for continued advertising through the Urban Enterprise Association, which was discontinued in 2005 by a vote of the Common Council.
This is not to say that advertising and marketing for the downtown has gone away. In its place, Terre Haute now has the "Level Above" campaign, developed for the city by Miller White LLC.
This Holiday Season saw a step up in the "Level Above" campaign, when several products, such as coffee cups, mouse pads, lunch boxes, pins, hats, and more, were made available as gift items at stores across the city.
The DAA call for a review of itself six years after the fact to determine what has worked and what hasn't. Both Nation and Conner would like to see that happen.
To read the Downtown Action Agenda, visit the Journal web site at www.thjournal.com.

Robert L. Flott can be reached at [email protected].
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:53 PM   #88
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First of four new Sculptures Approved for City


An old photo of Memorial Stadium, when it hosted horse racing. The arch was spared when the new stadium was built.


Published: March 03, 2007 12:44 am

Board of Commissioners approves 15-foot tall sculpture to stand outside Memorial Stadium

By Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Vigo County officials approved an art services contract Friday, paving the way for the first of four possible sculptures to be erected in Terre Haute.

The county Board of Commissioners approved the agreement between Art Spaces Inc. – Wabash Valley Outdoor Sculpture Collection and artist Mark Wallis to erect a sculpture that at its highest peak will stand 15 feet tall. It will stand on the grounds of Memorial Stadium, which serves as the football field for Indiana State University.

Vigo County owns the ground, but leases the property to the city under a contract that expires after 2016. ISU subleases property from the city of Terre Haute.

Wallis of Spencer was selected from an initial field of 27 artists, later trimmed to five before a final selection by a panel that included representatives from Terre Haute Arts Committee; city’s Department of Parks and Recreation; ISU; Arts Illiana; and Art Spaces Inc., said Mary Kramer, executive director of Art Spaces Inc.

The total project cost is $45,000, with costs of the sculpture at $38,000. Of that, the artist’s commission is $5,100, according to the contract.

The sculpture by Wallis will be fabricated steel, limestone and cast aluminum and will appear to be embedded in gray river rock. It will include a map showing the location of 101 trees and 16 shrubs recently planted around the Indiana Mile walking trail.

“We ask the artist to design a tree marker for each tree and shrub. Those markers will be limestone with cast aluminum,” Kramer said.

The sculpture is to be finished by July 1.

“We expect to have three other sculptures up this year. One will be at Gilbert Park and two will be along the Arts Corridor” along Seventh Street in Terre Haute’s downtown, Kramer said.

One sculpture will be in front of the Vigo County Public Library’s main branch and one in front of the Swope Art Museum, Kramer said.

“We have 100 percent funding for two sculptures and about 75 percent funding for the third. The funding is the major obstacle. The artists for the Arts Corridor have not been selected yet,” Kramer said.

Each sculpture also will have a fund for care and maintenance, Kramer said.

Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or [email protected].
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Old March 4th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #89
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Response to the failure of the Parks Board to Secure a Slight Tax Increase


The Collett Park Pavilion, which has probably not been renovated since this photograph was taken.


Published: March 03, 2007 05:25 pm

Mark Bennett: Opportunities can drift past Terre Haute, just like the Wabash, decade after decade
By Mark Bennett
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The following paragraph is an opinion.

“No single thing now under consideration by municipal and civic bodies does the future of Terre Haute depend so much as on the movement for the regeneration of the park system, the construction of a river boulevard and the making of a city plan. What is done in the next year in this respect will exert an influence not only on the physical aspect, but on the cultural and social life of the city for a hundred years or more.”

Shouldn’t the author consider that things here take time? What’s the rush, after all?

Well, unfortunately, the author can’t reconsider his words. They were written in August …

Of 1920.

They appeared nearly 87 years ago in an editorial from a monthly magazine called The Book of Terre Haute, published by the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, whose officers then were J.B. Pfister (president) and S.H. McClary (secretary). They seemed particularly prophetic last week when the second oil spill in a 12-day span oozed into the Wabash, and plans to enhance facilities in the city parks got stalled two months before elections.

Sure, there are lots of people from all walks of life working on the Wabash Riverfront Development and Beautification Committee, conjuring up ideas like a walkway along its banks. And, yes, three out of every four Hauteans surveyed by an Indiana State University group last year said such a project would improve the quality of life here and favored it. But, really, what are their chances of seeing that happen?

Ironically, that 1920 commentary included this caveat: “When a majority of the people of this city want these things then we shall have them, and not before.”

Thus, the quintessential word in that sentence is “want.” Do we merely enjoy harboring these visions, or do we truly want them to happen?

Thank goodness, portions of that old editorial came true. The City of Terre Haute bought 160 acres of wooded land from banker Demas Deming in 1920 to create a park on the east side of town. The city paid Deming $155,000 for the property, with the agreement that he would donate $100,000 of that to then-Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology).

Using inflation calculations, that $155,000 would equal $2,009,957 today. But because of that great investment, generations of people since then have visited Deming Park to have a picnic, fish, hike, play Frisbee, swim, sunbathe, read, ride the kiddie train, jog, watch a cross country meet, eat snowcones, play on Snow Hill or bounce around the playgrounds.

Probably, 99.9 percent of those Deming visitors entered the park with no memory of the people who helped make that $155,000 purchase a reality. And they shouldn’t have to think about all of those bygone commitments; the whole point of going to a park is to recreate, not pay homage.

Back when the city bought that land, though, The Book of Terre Haute recognized the Park Board for its “wisdom and far-sightedness.”

“No money ever spent by any agency of the city of Terre Haute will pay larger dividends in pleasure and happiness to the people of the city,” that follow-up editorial stated.

Nearly nine decades later, the current parks renovation project — meant to create a new aquatic facility to replace the aging city pools, upgrade the Collett Park pavilion, add splash parks and playground equipment and build a skate park at Vorhees Park — must now move to “the back burner,” said Parks Superintendent Greg Ruark, who was clearly disappointed. The proposal for a $4-million bond issue would’ve required a tax increase (of about $21 a year for residents owning a $100,000 home), and a majority of City Council members had indicated they would vote against that request. So, hours before the Council was to meet, the Park Board withdrew that bond request.

Thus, the two existing pools, built in 1962 and renovated in 1986, will be prepared for the 2007 park season. Last year, it took $40,000 to get the Deming pool ready, Ruark said.

“This is a huge expense, because they’re in such poor condition, and it’s conceivable we’ll be spending more and more each year to get them ready in time for Memorial Day,” Ruark added Friday. “So we’re not helping ourselves by any means.”

Sometimes the disadvantages of the status quo aren’t clearly noticeable.

The river flows on, just as it has for hundreds of years. Many of us drive past it daily, giving it only an occasional second glance if the level’s way up or ice chunks are drifting in it. Unless we stop, close our eyes and allow ourselves a moment for visionary thought, few of us see the Wabash as an unappreciated resource. And all of those ideas about walkways, nature paths and improved scenery along its banks obviously aren’t urgent, are they?

Besides, there are 22 different cities and community groups up and down the Wabash working to turn their stretch of the river into an asset, according to Ronald Turco, a professor of agriculture at Purdue University and director of the Indiana Water Resources Center. Shouldn’t Terre Haute just wait to see how their projects turn out?

The Wabash is the longest free-flowing river east of the Mississippi, with a 411-mile uninterrupted stretch, Turco pointed out. Its recreational potential is largely untapped in Indiana.

“I think we’ve really missed the boat on that,” Turco said. “There’s nothing like it anywhere in the eastern United States.”

A developed canoeing trail, for example, could feature stopping points in towns along its route with restaurants and shops for the adventurers.

Concepts such as that require tenacity to see them through to fruition, Turco said. Yet capitalizing on the Wabash could transform Indiana into a recreational haven.

“That would be kind of a cool thing,” Turco said. “It’s low-dollar and high-impact.”

Of course, there are lots of valid reasons for parks and riverfront projects to wait, just as there were in 1920 when The Book of Terre Haute editorial concluded with this paragraph:

“Plans for the river boulevard and park system have been made, and part of this plan is being executed at this present time. There should be no unnecessary delay, however, in executing all of it, and it can be safely said that this project will go forward just as fast as the people of the city want it to go forward. They must express themselves, however.”



Mark Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (812) 231-4377.
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Old March 4th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #90
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City Infrastructure - looking back and forward

Engineer outlines road improvement plans for ’07
By Austin Arceo
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Edgewood Grove resident Pat Malloy intently listened to city engineer Pat Goodwin update him on construction in his neighborhood where his family has lived for three generations.

The Terre Haute native has noticed the major work going on in the area, and can’t wait to see the finished product.

Malloy was one of several city residents on hand early Thursday afternoon in the Vigo County Public Library as city officials briefed them on the Pace of Progress capital improvement plan.

Goodwin explained the infrastructure projects the city worked on in 2006 and planned future projects, including a $6.4 million redevelopment project that includes Edgewood Grove that is currently under construction.

“I think the progress the city has made over the past year is phenomenal,” Malloy said after the presentation.

Goodwin outlined several infrastructure projects expected to be constructed in 2007.

The city will spend $1.7 million on the Brown Avenue Phase I Drainage project, which includes new drainage sewer pipes and structures to prepare for trail development in the area. He also explained more about construction on Margaret Avenue, which could include a trail built near the intersection of Margaret Avenue and Seventh Street.

Goodwin explained after the presentation that six of 10 major city projects in 2006 finished on budget and on time. From the context of how the Indiana Department of Transportation, other communities and how Terre Haute previously fared, Goodwin added that last year was pretty good.

But he didn’t want to rate the city based on that context.

“So from my perspective, six out of ten is not as good as I’d like to be,” Goodwin said after the presentation. “I’d like to say ten out of ten.”

Inflation went up much more than usual last year. The city typically uses INDOT as a reference when creating cost estimates for projects, Goodwin said, and INDOT officials told city engineers to anticipate inflation of more than 20 percent just last year alone.

He added that the Iraq War, rising oil and fuel costs and even construction in China added to the increasing costs.

“These factors have converged,” Goodwin said, “and it’s just killing cost estimates. Everything is up.”

Terre Haute officials are proud of the work that’s been done, communications director Peter Ciancone said. He added that the city gave straightforward answers as to why some projects were not completed on schedule.

“But, in total, I think we did an admirable job of moving these things forward,” Ciancone said, “and I think anybody driving around town can see the difference.”

Despite the cost increases, construction and infrastructure improvements will continue in Terre Haute. Goodwin reassured people during the presentation that the city can afford the projects and renovations into the foreseeable future.

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or [email protected].
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Old March 4th, 2007, 03:12 PM   #91
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Indiana Business College moving way the hell out on SR 46

Published: February 19, 2007 09:25 pm

Indiana Business College changes along with for-profit college industry
By Arthur E. Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute campus of Indiana Business College is settling into a new location at a time of change and growth in the private, for-profit education industry.

IBC, part of a statewide system of campuses that includes an online program, moved from behind Honey Creek Mall to its new seven-acre campus on Indiana 46 last April.

“We wanted room to expand,” said Patricia Mozley, executive director of the Terre Haute campus since October. The new building is 4,000 square feet larger than the Honey Creek facility, she said.

IBC in Terre Haute offers 18-month associate’s degrees in subjects such as medical coding, accounting, business administration and health-care management. The local IBC has an enrollment of just under 250 students while statewide the school has 4,000 students, Mozley said.

With an average age of 27, students at IBC tend to be older than students at traditional, not-for-profit colleges and universities. Additionally, many students at IBC, about 85 percent, have jobs outside school, Mozley said.

A for-profit institution

For-profit “career colleges” and universities have been part of a growing and profitable industry for the past several years. According a 2005 article in Slate Magazine, enrollment in for-profit colleges has been growing at about 8 percent per year — about four times faster than overall college enrollment. For-profit college industry revenues were $13 billion in 2005, up a whopping 65 percent since 1999.

Not all the news has been good, however. Some for-profit colleges have found themselves under ethical and legal scrutiny in recent years. CBS’ “60 Minutes” aired a piece on Career Education Corp., which had 100,000 students enrolled in its various colleges in 2005 and has seen its share of financial bad news since. Corinthian Colleges, another for-profit giant with around 65,000 students enrolled, has been the target of investigations and lawsuits.

The traditional “education sector kind of puts [all for-profit institutions] in the same barrel,” Mozley said. “That’s unfortunate because there are some major differences.”

Founded in 1902 and with campuses only in the Hoosier state, Indiana Business College is different from the mega-education corporations, Mozley said. “We don’t run our colleges … looking at stockholders,” she said; however, like any institution, the school has had its “ups and downs,” she said.

“I can see huge improvement” in the quality of education at IBC, said Michelle Whitford, a 1995 IBC graduate working for HealthSouth, a local hospital that often hires IBC graduates. IBC may not have had the best reputation 10 years ago, Whitford said, but it has made some definite improvements.

“I get some great employees” from IBC, said David Dean, project coordinator at NFI Interactive Logistics in Terre Haute. Dean has a good relationship with the college, which he said prepares prospective employees well for work with his company. “Everybody I’ve hired through [IBC] is doing really well in this company,” he said. Dean even works with IBC staff to check on the attendance records of new employee prospects, he said.

IBC graduates “are the cream of the crop,” said George Henley, director of human resources at HealthSouth. Henley’s hospital has been hiring IBC graduates for at least five years, he said, adding that they have no intention of stopping. “They are very well-trained,” he said.

An active “advisory board” of local employers works with IBC administrators to help determine curriculum needs at the school, Mozley said. The board, which meets about three times per year, helps school officials understand what local employers are looking for in new hires, she said.

Students are career-oriented

For-profit colleges tend to charge higher tuition than public universities or community colleges but less than not-for-profit, private, four-year institutions. Tuition at IBC ranges from $173 to $247 per credit hour. Tuition at Ivy Tech Community College is $87.75 per credit hour for in-state students and $178.50 for out-of-state students. Indiana State University’s tuition rate for undergraduates is $220 per credit hour for students taking fewer than 12 hours per semester, according to the university’s Web site; however, that rate drops steadily if students take more than 14 credit hours per semester.

Although often paying more, career college students are drawn to accelerated programs, flexible hours, convenient locations and small class sizes, according to a 2001 report by the Education Commission of the States, a Denver-based nonpartisan education policy institute. Often, career college students are also students who are highly career-oriented and had unsuccessful experiences at traditional colleges or universities, the report notes.

“While most colleges fight furiously over the top 25 percent of high school graduates, for-profits aim for the middle half of the class,” according to a 2003 Business Week article. Nearly half of for-profit higher education students are minorities, many are lower-income working adults “hungry for technical and professional skills,” the article notes. At IBC in Terre Haute, 10-12 percent of the students are minorities and 87 percent are female, according to Mozley.

Another thing that makes IBC different from traditional colleges and universities is its personal appearance standards. The college’s dress code prohibits, among other things, hats or sunglasses worn indoors, T-shirts with “inappropriate advertising” and short pants. IBC campuses also have professional and business casual dress days and the school catalog informs students that “tattoos and body piercings may be detrimental in the pursuit of employment,” adding, “Students with visible tattoos and/or body piercings will be addressed individually.”

Many of the new, for-profit universities, such as the mammoth University of Phoenix, which had 96,000 students in 2003, conduct classes in rented office spaces and other temporary settings. IBC’s new facility in Terre Haute, in contrast, is a new, standalone building with a student lounge, four computer labs, carpeted classrooms, a medical lab and a library. Also, unlike many other for-profits, IBC employs full-time faculty, rather than part-time professionals teaching in their spare time. Of the 14 or 15 faculty at IBC-Terre Haute, six are full-time and 75 percent have master’s degrees, Mozley said.

Targeting growth

IBC’s enrollment has been steady at about 250 students for the past six years, Mozley said. About half the students are in medical training fields and half are in business programs. But by moving to its new location, the school has room to grow. A new Information Technology curriculum should be added next year, Mozley said.

“That’s one area I think will help feed some growth.”

Mozley also would like to see the Terre Haute campus eventually offer bachelor’s degrees, something now available only in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Evansville and online.

More than 100 years old, Indiana Business College continues to meet a need in the Wabash Valley and, as more and more jobs require some post-secondary education or training, that need seems to be growing.

“They want their lifestyle to be better,” Mozley said of the reason students enroll at IBC. They want to move from “having a job to having a career.”
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Old March 4th, 2007, 03:47 PM   #92
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Then and Now

Paul Cox Field, Terre Haute's First Airport, 1939



Today (or recently, at least):



Terre Haute Coke and Carbon, 14 Sept 1926:


Today:

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Old March 5th, 2007, 02:20 AM   #93
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Wow, how could I have missed this thread in the two years I've been here? :wow:


This is some very interesting material you've posted; thanks for sharing. I can understand the concern for Terre Haute and similar cities firsthand. As a student about to graduate from Ball State I can honestly say that the presence of a major university is the only thing keeping Muncie from plunging into the White River for good.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 04:13 AM   #94
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Thanks Naptown- I've kind of turned it into a Terre Haute Development thread, updating it only very occasionally. The last couple of years have been good for the city, which I think is on a little stronger footing than Muncie, because of the strong industrial base, the Federal Pen and the strong retail, middle-brow retail scene. That said, the universities are still the major cultural and perhaps economic forces in the city. ISU is going through a rough transition right now, since many of the students they used to attract are now going to the Community Colleges/Ivy Tech. ISU raised its admission standards a few years ago (from "pulse") and the enrollment has momentarily suffered. I think ISU will have to redirect itself like BSU did a few years ago, and all will soon be well again.
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Old March 5th, 2007, 04:42 AM   #95
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Two links:



Here are two sites related to the Terre Haute House and downtown that might be of interest:

http://www.terrehautehouse.net/

and the related blog (updated somewhat infrequently)
http://terrehautehouse.blogspot.com/

Enjoy -

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Old March 5th, 2007, 09:46 AM   #96
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Realtime Terrible Hole

And a realtime view of Terre Haute from WTHI-TV:

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Old March 7th, 2007, 03:51 AM   #97
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Five years ago, these were called "high-tech" jobs...



New call center on way to The Meadows
By Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. plans in April to open a call center in The Meadows shopping center, which will employ seven full-time workers and 100 contract positions.

The telemarketing center will initially provide inbound and outbound telemarketing and fulfillment services and database management services for national and local clients.

“We generally represent clients who serve the telecom or health-care industries,” generally pharmaceutical companies, said Rick Hall, vice president and general manager for Consolidated Communications.

“We take orders for services and products or provide customer service functions and we also sell services to business customers or consumers who are already customers of the client that we represent,” Hall said.

Database management provides market analysis reports to clients or includes updating existing customer database information.

The company refers to the majority of its workers as “temporary positions,” rather than contract positions.

“The positions are called temporary because we contract most of the jobs through a temporary agency, but the jobs are expected to be mostly permanent full-time and part-time jobs. We expect steady employment in the Terre Haute area,” Hall said.

The company will pay the majority of its workers between $7 to $9 per hour with potential for bonuses or commissions, Hall said.

The basement of The Meadows shopping center, at 25th and Poplar streets, has been home to three teleservice companies. The space originally was designed for Columbia House. After Columbia House pulled out, the Aegis Communications Group moved in, later replaced in 2004 by TeleServices Direct, which pulled out in November.

“This is a good fit for The Meadows,” said John Ragle of Ragle & Co., which manages the shopping center. “We have been impressed by Consolidated Communications.”

The company will use about 25,000 square feet of space at The Meadows, leaving about 15,000 square feet of available space, Ragle said. The center has been upgraded since its first tenant with computer room, anti-static floors and several fiber optic rings, Ragle said.

Aegis Communication Group, a Texas-based company, employed the most workers. The company opened in Terre Haute in August 2000, but Aegis had several layoffs over a four-year period, including a layoff of 150 workers in February 2001 of about half its work force. The company later reached a peak of 610 workers, but cut 225 workers in December 2003 because of a loss of a major contract. The company closed in May 2004, with about 100 workers.

Hall said Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc. is different as it has a long business history, being founded in 1894.

“Most of the contracts we have with our clients are long-term contracts and [the contracts] really don’t come and go very often. We have pretty steady relationships with our clients. We also deal with multiple clients …, ” Hall said.

The company already has a consolidated market response center in Illinois, employing 200 workers in Charleston, Ill. The new center will be the company’s first market response center in Indiana.

“Terre Haute is a bigger population base, with three universities in Terre Haute, whereas in Charleston (Ill.) there is just one,” Hall said. “Indiana State University and Eastern Illinois University are universities of similar size, but the overall population base in Vigo County is much larger than in Coles County (Ill.) and that is a plus for us,” Hall said.

The Meadows space is ideal for the company, Hall said, adding the center has the capability to increase to 200 contract workers.

“We had certain criteria we wanted our sites to have and Terre Haute did the best job of meeting all the criteria,” Hall said, such as “work force, the number of employable people, distance from Charleston, overall population base, average income levels and a center that is readily available and access to transportation, as we bring a lot of clients in, and even though the biggest major airport is Indianapolis, that is just an hour away,” Hall said.

Consolidated Communications Holdings Inc.’s principal business is to provide voice and data communications services to residential and business customers in central Illinois and southeast Texas. It is the 15th largest independent telephone company in the nation.

The company offers local and long distance dial tone, high-speed Internet, digital TV, private line, carrier services, wireless phone and Voice Over Internet Protocol or VoIP. Information about the company can be found at www.consolidated.com.
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Old March 7th, 2007, 09:08 AM   #98
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Infrastructure Replacement in southside "Farrington Grove" Historic District



Eugene Debs' Birthplace, just up the way on North 4th Street. The sewer being replaces was probably built just before this house was demolished many years ago.

Published: March 06, 2007 10:20 pm

Sewer replacement project still shutting down part of Terre Haute

Sewers under construction were about a century old
Austin Arceo
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State University student Chelsea Shearer knew about the travel inconveniences created by construction on South Fourth Street, which runs in front of the house she bought last month.

But she was startled when her water meter froze three times during February’s bitter wintry weather, which deprived her home of water until the meter eventually thawed.

The water meter, which usually is buried several feet underground, has been more exposed to the elements since construction crews tore up the street and sidewalks to replace nearly century-old sewer pipes under the roadway.

Crews started work last October and are expected to finish within the next few months. In the meantime, area residents need to deal with some unintended inconveniences created by the project.

Shearer installed a bucket with insulation over the nearly exposed water meter after it froze the first time, but she said it froze two more times.

“It’s kind of a weak effort,” Shearer said of the insulation, “but it’s the best we can do.”

Pipes and water meters froze throughout Terre Haute during the cold wintry weather last month. The lack of insulation and increased exposure to the weather contributed to equipment freeze along South Fourth Street, said Deron Allen, operations manager in central Indiana for Indiana American Water Co.

The construction addresses problems with an aging sewer line to which city workers made several repairs over the last few years. Sinkholes occurred on Fourth Street “at least two to three times a year,” said Larry Robbins, assistant city engineer in Terre Haute. A sinkhole is a void created as dirt falls into a hole in a sewer pipe over time.

Robbins suspects that the old sewers were installed incorrectly, since other city sewer lines older than the one at South Fourth Street have not created as many problems.

“If it’s put in properly, it should last forever,” he said.

Not many complaints have been reported to the city, Robbins said. He added that postal workers walk the route, but the city has received no complaints. Some people traveling along part of South Fourth Street walk on uneven sand which has slight dips in elevation and remnants of the former street.

Bradly Haskett, who delivers the Tribune-Star to customers in the area, said he twisted his ankle last month while trying to avoid construction equipment.

“It’s just very unsafe,” Haskett said of the area.

South Fourth Street resident Jim Sarson believes the construction project will improve his sewers. He said that he needed to have the sewer line in his house drained every few months since about 1998, when his drains started backing up. He added that the connection from his sewer line to the main sewer pipe under the street had gotten damaged.

“I’ll be happy when they get it completed,” Sarson said of the construction.

The project on Fourth Street between Poplar and Farrington streets is the first phase of renovations; a second phase replacing the sewer line from Farrington to Hulman streets will start and be expected to finish later this year.

Meanwhile, Shearer is looking forward to the finished project. She plans to move into her home after she graduates in May.

“It’s a mess, but it seems like they’ve got it under control,” Shearer said, “and once it gets done, I think it’ll be really nice.”

Austin Arceo can be reached at (812) 231-4214 or [email protected].
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Old March 7th, 2007, 06:44 PM   #99
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I always found it odd that Terre Haute does not engage teh Wabash River...at all. Very few Cities in Indiana have such a great natural feature and it seems to be basically ignored.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 01:19 PM   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwilson758 View Post
I always found it odd that Terre Haute does not engage teh Wabash River...at all. Very few Cities in Indiana have such a great natural feature and it seems to be basically ignored.
There has been persistent chit-chat in Terry Hut lately about riverfront development. THe city has been trying to buy out land along the Western edge for a wetland restoration/parkland/trail system, but this is in the very earliest stages.

The Mayor had this to say about riverfront development a few months ago:

RIVERFRONT DEVELOPMENT

Another issue that has received much attention recently is riverfront development.

Let me make one thing clear. This is a county-wide issue with broad future implications for all of us. For too many years, Terre Haute, along with most of the communities along the river, has used the Wabash as a sewer, with scant regard for its recreational or community benefits. That has to change.

Another important point is that this is not something that can be fixed overnight. It took 130 years of habit to make the river what it is. Reworking the river banks through Vigo County will take long-term commitment and effort.

What hit the news outlets recently – making part of the area west of the river into a wetland – does not take any local government involvement at all. The owners of those farming lands do not need public help or public permission to bring that into fruition.

What is most important to note is that local government has no plans to force anybody out of their homes. The public meeting that took place May 26, conducted by a citizen committee with no vested interest in the property, brought out many complaints to that effect. That is not the case.

The city has investigated the possibility of buying property along the Riverfront at Fairbanks Parkst bank of the river from owners interested in selling. The city does not have the resources to buy all that property, and has no interest in forcing anybody to sell who doesn’t want to. We are looking to buy some of that land in Taylorville (Dresser) with the hope that we will someday be able to design an attractive entrance to a wetlands preserve public recreation area to the west and south.


Here is a very simple map of the area - I dont know the boundaries of the project on the west (bottom of the map) side of the river; the city is trying to buy up properties in Dresser, since the neither the feds nor private insurance companies well sell flood policies to those folks.



A lot of conspiracy theorists think the city will be gaming for a riverboat on the Wabash, which I would support, but I just dont see it happening, though it would probably be a great draw from Indianapolis, with ready access from I-70 and two new downtown hotels. Stay tuned...
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