Detention Basins Near Spy Run Creek Popular Among Businesses

By Megan Trent

July 6, 2011 Updated Jul 6, 2011 at 7:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Three new detention basins near I-69 and Lima Road could spur economic development down the road.

Justin Brugger, Senior Program Manager for City Utilities in Fort Wayne, says it's a great example of the public and private sectors working together to benefit the entire community.

The industrial park near Spy Run Creek has a history of flooding after significant rainfall or when snow begins to melt. In 2006, plans were in the works to construct detention basins to help alleviate the problem. Brugger says it was about that time that gas prices sky rocketed, and paying for the trucking expenses associated with hauling away the excavated dirt became unaffordable. The project came with a $5 million price tag.

However, a new partnership has opened up new ground and lowered the projected price.

Menards owned 27 acres on the property, but wished to sell the site instead of build on it. Another developer owned four acres neighboring Menards. The city of Fort Wayne also owned 20 acres neighboring the two lots.

An agreement was reached to purchase four acres of land from Menards and four from the other property owner, McGuire, giving the city 28 acres. Brugger says 20 acres will be used in constructing the three, narrow detention basins on the site.

That leaves eight acres for City Utilities to sell down the road to future business owners or developers. Menards will also have 23 acres to sell. It's a prime location - just off I-69 with views from the interstate. With the current flooding improvements being made, Brugger says interest in the property is apparent.

The property will become even more attractive to future businesses, because the dirt being excavated to create the detention basins is being spread out over the remainder of the property. This further elevates the land and makes the ground ready for development.

Brugger says the most important part of the project is protecting more than 20 businesses in the area from flood waters, but admits furthering economic development in the area is a good bonus.

The entire project is expected to cost just over $1 million, including the purchase of land and creation of three detention basins. That's a significant savings from the $5 million price tag being discussed five years ago.

"It's very exciting, because we're saving the rate payers $3.5 million that was not in the storm water budget," says Brugger. "At the same time, we're developing a prime site that would not have been able to be developed without this creative thinking."

Construction on the project began the first week of June and is expected to continue through September.

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