TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — In older cities like Terre Haute, there are historic areas, and then there are areas for growth.
“And (State Road) 46 is kind of that one that’s been on the horizon for years, and there’s been a few things out there,” said Mayor Duke Bennett.
In the last 5 years, additions like Meijer, Home 2 Suites, and Starbucks have continued the buildup of the east side. Monday, Culver’s is set to open in front of Meijer.
Culver’s owners Matt and Renee Bilyeu, who are local to Terre Haute, say the east side is the perfect place to feed customers.
“I actually grew up just south of here in Riley, so I spent a lot of time on the east side as a kid, this used to be all farm fields, and so it kind of felt like home,” said Matt. “This was the right place for us to build and we think we’re going to be a huge catalyst for this side of town.”
Future projects like a Union Health clinic and a proposed casino show what the future of the east side could look like, and then there’s the land behind State Road 46, where round-a-bouts currently lead to nowhere… yet.
“I think you’re gonna get some light industrial, some warehousing, things like that, other businesses that don’t have to have that frontage on the highway,” said Bennett.
Bennett says many locals request more sit-down restaurants in the area, which he believes are possible on the east side. He also says property value is increasing, which gives people an incentive to invest soon.
The Terre Haute Regional Airport is already planning on collaborating with a possible casino. The airport is currently the third busiest in Indiana, according to Executive Director Jeff Hauser, and business is only expected to grow if a casino comes to the east side.
“We have to work on some ways to work with the casino on that, to provide transportation and stuff for the people that land at the airport, to be able to get them rides over there,” said Hauser.
Hauser and Bennett both say a lot of activity is expected at the airport in the upcoming years, with plenty of land available and some projects already in the works.
“I’m really hopeful and working with the state government to bring some defense development-related activity to our community, meaning good paying jobs around the airport that are kind of tied to the military in some way,” said Bennett.
While the Indiana Gaming Commission’s answer to Spectacle Jack LLC’s bid is still pending, the Bilyeus say they welcome any business that can boost the area.
“I think any kind of development in Terre Haute is a good thing,” said Matt.
In terms of safety, Bennett says another fire department location should be considered out on the east side, due to the number of calls in the area.