ANDERSON – Work has started on the removal of underground storage tanks at the site of a former gas station on the west side of Edgewood Plaza.

Last year, the Indiana Finance Authority announced that its brownfield program was authorized to award over $970,000 to fund remediation programs in 10 Indiana communities.

Included on the list is 2691 Nichol Ave., at a cost of $169,494, the former location of Baxter Pest Control.

Gary McKinney, brownfield specialist with the Anderson Economic Development Department, said the contaminated soil will be cleared from a petroleum leak on the property.

The work will include the removal of underground storage tanks and contaminated soil, along with remediation work.

Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said city officials believe the site is the last one on the west side of Edgewood Plaza with an environmental issue.

“This is a huge step forward,” Winkler said. “We do have two developers that have showed an interest in the property.”

He said the stumbling block to the development of the Nichol and Raible avenues intersection is the former Speedway gas station that has been undergoing environmental remediation for more than a quarter of a century.

McKinney said a gasoline leak was discovered on the Speedway property in 1989 and, for the past 25 years, the company has been remediating the location following guidelines set by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

“There are still high levels of contamination,” he said last year.

Winkler said the issues on the Speedway and adjacent properties have to be addressed before development of the entire area can take place.

“The question becomes what the city can do until all the issues are resolved,” he said.

McKinney said the goal is to obtain clearance from the IDEM indicating that no further action is necessary on the Baxter site.

The cleanup work is being 100 percent funded by the state.

The property is located directly west of the former Edgewood Plaza shopping center, which was demolished by the city of Anderson several years ago.

In May, the Central Wyoming College Foundation agreed to donate the site on Nichol Avenue to the Anderson Redevelopment Commission. If the Foundation maintained the ownership, it would be responsible for a portion of the cleanup costs.

The estimated cost of the property's environmental cleanup is $180,000 and the assessed value of the property is $59,000, McKinney said.

The Indiana Brownfields Program has set aside the funds for the cleanup, he said.

“This property is in the Nichol Avenue redevelopment area,” McKinney said. “Obtaining the property makes sense because it would square up the site.”

Central Wyoming College, located in Riverton, had an enrollment of 2,243 students in 2011. It is the site of the only Public Broadcasting System station in the state.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 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.

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