Broad Street Building Coming Down Soon

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana www.thecouriertimes.com

Broad Street building coming down soon

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 6:00 am

It shouldn’t be long before the former Hoosier Antiques building on Broad Street comes down, clearing the way for the development of the 1400 Plaza in downtown New Castle.

The New Castle Board of Works, which met Monday, received bids from just one contractor interested in demolishing three buildings: 1502 Thornburg, 1431 Broad St. and 1411 I Ave. New Castle Director of Public Works Dave Barker said five local contractors were contacted to solicit their interest in razing the buildings and the only one submitting a bid was Neal’s Scrap Metal. Neal’s quotes were for $27,500 for the Thornburg site, $48,500 for the Broad Street property and $7,200 for the house on I Avenue.

Mayor Greg York said demolition of the former antiques business at 1431 Broad St. is the next step in developing the 1400 Plaza.

“We’re in the process of hiring an architect engineer for the plaza. We’ve already interviewed one and have another interview this week,” the mayor said. “The plan is to get this building down and out of the way and then, as soon as we can get some financing lined up, we’re going to be working on it (the plaza) just as soon as we possibly can.”

The plaza will provide parking for residents of the Jennings Building as well as the businesses planned for the ground floor of that structure and also serve as a gathering place for community activities like the farmer’s market. This project was given a vote of confidence by members of the New Castle Redevelopment Commission in late January. At that time, Jason Semler and Lisa Lee of the accounting firm Umbaugh & Associates presented financing options for construction of the proposed plaza.

The city has already set aside $82,000 for development of the plaza and Semler said there is enough tax increment funding coming in annually from the Southeast Economic Development Area, which includes the downtown business district, to pay for a general obligation bond needed to finance the rest of the development effort.

It is not known how much development of the plaza will cost until it has been engineered and designed, but it has been estimated the final cost will be a minimum of $1 million.

It’s also not known what impact Indiana Department of Transportation plans to refurbish Broad Street will have on the effort, though Mayor York isn’t concerned about the work INDOT contractors will be doing and how that might impact construction of the plaza or downtown revitalization efforts in general.

“The INDOT work is going to give us a new road and new curbs, and in some areas new sidewalks, so it’s all improvements,” the mayor said. “There aren’t going to be any changes to the locations of driveways or roads ... nobody’s going to see any new entrances or exits or anything like that.”

Barker said Milestone Contractors plans to close Ind. 38 (Broad Street) on or after March 22 to begin construction on a $5.3 million pavement replacement and rehabilitation project between Ind. 3 (Memorial Drive) and 31st Street. Pavement east of 15th Street will be completely rebuilt. Pavement west of 15th Street will be rehabilitated. Work will also include replacing sections of curb and sidewalks, modernizing curb ramps at intersections, and improving storm water drainage structures within the project limits.

Access to residences and businesses will be maintained. Other routes can provide access to local destinations. All closures will be sequenced to maintain access to local destinations while completing the project as safely and efficiently as possible. Ind. 38 is expected to be fully open to traffic before the end of this year, and all work on the contract is expected to be complete before the summer of 2018.

There will be a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. March 20 in council chambers on the second floor of the municipal building, 227 N. Main St., to share information about the Broad Street project and to allow INDOT and city officials to answer any questions local residents and businesses might have about what’s planned.

More information about the Ind. 38 project can be found inside today’s paper. 

Mayor Greg York made a motion to table Neal’s bid, but said he anticipates the demo work to begin as soon as possible and for it to start with the Broad Street property. That motion was amended by board member and Dave Copenhaver to also authorize the mayor and Barker to review the bids and establish a timeline for taking the buildings down. That motion passed 3 to 0.

The Board of Works will next meet at 10 a.m. March 20 in council chambers. That meeting is open to all interested persons.