TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — It was a packed house at the Meadows Thursday morning as Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett delivered his yearly city update.
Continuing to focus on the future, the mayor outlined a number of what he considers key community initiatives like population growth, workforce development and retention, housing inventory, increased household income and other quality of life projects. Bennett also said there was significant economic development in the city last year.
Overall, Bennett was optimistic.
“We have to stay on top of the game, and we are,” he said. “Wherever we go is up to us.”
During his update, Bennett discussed how in 2022 the city will focus on building infrastructure and developing the economy. He specifically highlighted finding a use for READI grant funds.
Proposed projects include a State Road 46 housing project, an essential worker village, upgrades at Fairbanks Park or a West Terre Haute clinic and pharmacy. A table of all listed potential recipients is below:
|Deming Park Pool||City of Terre Haute||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Sports Center and East Side Aquatic Feature||Vigo County Capital Improvement Board||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Fairbanks Park||City of Terre Haute||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Rea Park||City of Terre Haute||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|See You In Terre Haute: Open for Tourism||Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Equine Event Center||Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Sheldon Swope Art Museum||Sheldon Swope Art Museum||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Terre Haute Children’s Museum Outdoor Space||Terre Haute Children’s Museum||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Diversity and Career Center||Ivy Tech Community College||Workforce Development – Talent Attraction/Retention|
|FITE Center||Vigo County School Corp.||Workforce Development – Talent Attraction/Retention|
|Early Learning Center||Indiana State University||Workforce Development – Talent Attraction/Retention|
|Vigo County Public Library Expansion||Vigo County Public Library||Workforce Development – Libraries|
|State Road 46 Housing Project||Watermark Residential||Workforce Development – Housing|
|Essential Worker Village||Private Builders (RFP process)||Workforce Development – Housing|
|West Terre Haute Clinic & Pharmacy||Valley Professionals Community Health Center||Workforce Development – Access to Care|
|Courtyard + Residence Inn and Parking Garage||Dora Hospitality & Terre Haute Capital Improvement Board||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Turn to the River||Art Spaces, Inc.||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|The Mill||The Mill||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Wayfinding Initiative||West Central 2025||Tourism & Quality of Life|
|Rose Hulman Ventures||Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology||Entrepreneurship & Innovation|
|Homes for the Future Pilot Program||Thrive West Central||Workforce Development – Housing|
|Innovate WithIN||STARTed Up Foundation||Entrepreneurship & Innovation|
|West Central Indiana Business Hub||Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce||Entrepreneurship & Innovation|
|Eleven Fifty Academy – Advancing Tech in Indiana||Eleven Fifty Academy||Entrepreneurship & Innovation|
“We’re going to go through that list and find out are there other projects that we can fund through other sources,” Bennett said. “So we can go ahead and advance them, or do we need to wait and just delay them till this next round of funding comes?”
Recently, after requesting $73 million in READI grants, the Wabash Valley Regional Development Authority received $20 million in state funds. That money can now be used for housing availability, education or investment into downtown Terre Haute.
City streets continue to be at the forefront of Terre Haute’s investment, with multiple projects underway or in pre-design. These projects include a lane addition at Prairietown Road near Wabash Avenue, a railroad overpass near 13th Street and 8th Avenue and development on Fort Harrison Road to US 41.
“You’re going to have delays, as we do every season,” Bennett said. “But I see that as progress and things are happening. People are making those investments and we’re making the community better.”
Bennett also said that in 2021, over $500 million were invested and 869 jobs were created in the city and county by companies like Great Dane, Steel Dynamics and Novelis. He added that there have been talks of bringing in more companies in the near future, specializing in manufacturing or as suppliers to existing companies.
“Some of them are new manufacturing that we don’t have right now,” Bennett said. “I’m pretty high on them. I think we can get two or three this year.”
Among the statistical updates highlighted, Mayor Bennett said there has been an overall decrease in crime, with 2021 having 3,425 total incidents while 2020 had reported 3,468. When looking at the Terre Haute Fire Department, the mayor reported 12,359 service calls with 69% of those being for EMS and 31% for fire.
When discussing the fire department the mayor divulged that the design process has begun for a new east side fire station located on SR 46.
The Turn to the River phase 1 is expected to be completed by spring; phase 2 of the lighting update projects on US 41/3rd Street is underway already.
The mayor said the city will look to hang more signage in the downtown Arts District directing people to local attractions like the Swope Art Museum and the Convention Center.
New Margaret Avenue’s extension will be coming this summer, with groundbreaking expected to be held in June. The project is expected to take around 14 months to be completed.
When discussing the removal of buildings the mayor said “it was a down year” with only 38 houses and two garages demolished. Looking ahead to 2022 there are an expected 80-90 houses planned for demolition.
The city has multiple planning activities this year with the 12 Points strategic plan, the riverfront plan, the housing study and neighborhood revitalization of Herz-Rose Park and Ryves Hall. Speaking specifically about Ryves Hall, the mayor added that he has big plans for the area and is in need of new partners in the project.