Terre Haute has seen more than $100 million in investment over the past year, a sign of economic growth said Lisa Lee, the new chair of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp.
Lee, speaking Tuesday at the corporation’s annual membership meeting at Idle Creek Banquet Center, became the first woman to lead the EDC, reinvented in 2003 from the former Alliance for Growth and Progress.
“We have so many great female and male leaders in the community that all work together,” Lee, who is executive director of WorkOne in Terre Haute, said after the annual meeting. “I think there are a lot of (economic development) seeds that have been planted that will come to fruition throughout the next year.
“Collaboration is everything, and I think in western Indiana we lead the state in collaborating efforts,” Lee said.
The millions in investment are in new businesses, however, much of those investment dollars has been in new apartment complexes, specifically near Indiana State University.
Wisconsin-based ICAP Development is constructing a $15 million 224-bed student housing development called Highland Quarters at 627 Cherry Street, adjacent to Indiana State University’s Scott College of Business. Located west of Indiana State University’s campus, Indianapolis-based Annex 41 is constructing a 408-bed, $25 million apartment complex slated for completion in 2018.
Also west of ISU, close to the Wabash River, construction began this year on a $23 million conversion of the former ICON building. Core Redevelopment is turning the building into 165 loft-style, market-rate apartments. The property will be known as RiverFront Lofts.
In manufacturing, Pyrolyx USA, a joint-venture of Germany’s Pyrolyx Group and Seattle-based Rekliam, plans to construct a $25 million facility, in the Fort Harrison Business Park, to derive carbon black, oils and other by-products from shredded tires. Minnesota-based Select Genetics plans to construct a $22 million turkey hatchery in the Vigo County Industrial Park. That project has been expanded from a 83,000-square-foot hatchery to 115,000 square feet, said Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute EDC.
Another project, announced in June, 2016, is Verdeco Recycling, which is leasing a speculation building in the Vigo County Industrial Park for manufacturing of FDA-approved PET (polyethylene terephthalate) resins.
Keynote speaker Douglas Brock, vice president of operations, Indiana American Water Co., said Hoosiers “don’t do a good job of telling our story. We do what we do and expect everybody to know it, but that is not a good thing when it comes to economic development. There are a lot of good things going on and you do a lot of good work. It is okay to brag on yourself a little bit, especially in economic development as there is a lot of competition out there.”
Indiana American Water, Brock said, invests $85 million to $95 million annually in its system, seeking to replace 1 percent of its system each year, Brock said. That’s because water lines have an expected 100-year service life. It’s parent company, American Water, the nation’s largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility, spends $1.3 billion annually on regulated water and wastewater systems. American Water, which has been in business for 129 years, serves more than 15 million people and has about 6,400 employees nationwide, Brock said.
Statewide, Indiana American Water, with headquarters in Greenwood, pays more than $10.2 million per year in property taxes and has had zero notices of violation for environmental compliance for more than three years, Brock said. Indiana American Water is also the largest investor-owned water and wastewater utility in Indiana, serving more than 50 Hoosier communities.
”We serve about 1.3 million across the state. One in five Hoosiers drink our water every day,” Brock said. “We have more than 4,700 miles of underground distribution mains in Indiana.”
In Terre Haute, Indiana American Water in 1992 moved away from surface water collection from the Wabash River to collecting water from deep aquifer wells. Terre Haute has 500 miles of underground water mains, Brock said.
The company has 350 employees, with 20 workers in Terre Haute.
Brock pointed to the need to upgrade the nation’s waterworks.
Nationwide, Brock said about $1 trillion is needed over the next 25 years to update water, wastewater and storm water systems in the United States, according to the American Water Works Association. There is a projected $384 billion gap in funding for drinking water infrastructure from 2011 through 2030.
U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-8th, told the EDC that upgrading the nation’s waterworks “is critically important. Because of what happened in Flint (Michigan), there is a really national focus on this exact issue and it is time to take the opportunity and run with it,” Bucshon said, “to make sure we improve our water quality services to all of our citizens across the country.”