ANDERSON – Within hours, a building that sat on the future site of the city's new transportation center was demolished.

Following a brief ceremony in the Wednesday rain, the white building on the northeast corner of 13th and Jackson streets was reduced to rubble. That building was once used as a Merchant Marine museum and several other offices, but has been vacant for a number of years.

The city is building an $8.5 million three-story Transportation Center for CATS. The building will include space for commercial and retail outlets.

One more environmental study must be completed before the actual construction will start within the next 90 days.

“This has been a long time coming,” Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said. “Back in 2002 J. Mark Lawler, the mayor at the time, recognized the need for a new transportation center.

“Every administration since has recognized the importance of a new transportation center and the importance of public transportation in our community,” he said.

Anderson understands the need for public transportation to move people within the city.

Broderick said the current bus terminal, located in the 1100 block of Main Street, is run down and no longer meets the need of the community.

“We made it a priority to make it a reality,” he said of the new bus terminal. “In a few months we will see a transportation center that will be transformative for our city.”

The Anderson Board of Public Works awarded the contract to Patterson Horth General Contractors.

Mike Montgomery of krM Architecture said the contract specifies the work is to be completed in 400 days.

The new CATS terminal should open in the first quarter of 2020.

The federal government is providing a minimum of $6.3 million in grant funds for the project with the city of Anderson allocating $750,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

The Anderson Redevelopment Commission voted last year to provide $1.5 million in tax increment financing, or TIF, funds for the $8.5 million project.

Anderson is responsible for 20 percent of the construction costs.

The plan is to construct a 16,000-square-foot three-story building. The CATS terminal will be located on the north side of the first floor, with a loading and unloading zone to the east.

The remaining first-floor space and the second and third floors would be available for leasing to developers.

Jackson Street from 14th to 13th streets will be reduced to two lanes with the current right lane modified for parking in front of the terminal.

Thirteenth Street will be closed to traffic between Jackson and Meridian streets, and the alley west of the Dickmann Town Center will be converted to two-way traffic.

Since 2002 there have been several proposals on where to locate the new bus terminal with the Broderick administration reaching a decision in 2016 on the site.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.