By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
---- — INGALLS — Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is coming to town.
Both the Ingalls Advisory Plan Commission and Town Council voted Tuesday night to gave the Oklahoma-based company a green light to build one of its stores at Interstate 69 and Indiana 13.
Although several people from the Summerlake addition spoke against the project, both meetings were a far cry from the emotion-charged hearing in early spring when the Plan Commission held its first hearing on the proposal.
Summerlake resident Dennis Ashley implored commission members to think carefully about whether they really wanted a truck stop, however nice, to be the cornerstone project at exit 214.
It is the next I-69 interchange ripe for large-scale commercial and industrial development moving north from Indianapolis, Fishers and Noblesville, Ashley said. If the commission took a longer view of what might be developed there, the economic benefits could be far greater.
As it is, according to a financial analysis from O.W. Krohn and Associates, a consulting CPA firm, the net property tax gain for Ingalls will be about $50,000 annually.
While Ashley focused on economic development, another Summerlake resident, Dianna Mosedale, reiterated concerns that have been raised about noise, safety and traffic congestion, and the possibility of lower property values.
“Think about what follows a truck stop,” Ashley said. “You folks need to think about that.”
Love’s executives have said the company will invest about $9 million in the project, which will include a gas station and convenience store, tire changing facility, overnight parking for large commercial trucks, and two restaurants, a McDonald’s and Chester Chicken.
Brian J. Tuohy, a lawyer representing the company, said 70 percent of the workers involved with construction will come from central Indiana. When completed, the business will employ about 100 people, with an annual payroll of approximately $1 million.
At a meeting with community residents last month, Love’s executives talked about everything from security measures to environmental protections and light and noise screening.
While she recognized that the town won’t receive an astonishing amount of property tax revenue from the project, Town Council President Cheryl Martin said it is a start and everything helps.
She feels the same way about the job opportunities.
“This is a good thing for the town of Ingalls,” she said. “Even if only two people get a job there it’s a good thing for Ingalls.”
Frank Ille, manager of development for Love’s, said he expects that construction will begin next April.
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