City Intends to Seek Utility-Scale Solar Development for 53-Acre Parcel
By Bill Callen—
Muncie, IN- RACER Trust and the City of Muncie today announced they have reached an agreement for the city to purchase the 53-acre main parcel of RACER’s former General Motors property located at 1200 W. 8th St. The city intends to build a solar field on the property with up to 24.6 million kWh of generating capacity.
“RACER has worked closely with leaders in the city of Muncie to position our property for sales and investments that are making a positive difference, especially in the city’s southside neighborhoods,” said Elliott P. Laws, of EPLET, LLC, administrative trustee of RACER Trust. “Mayor Dan Ridenour has presented a bold vision for reuse of these 53 acres, an initiative that would make Muncie a regional leader in embracing renewable energy. RACER’s mission is to help communities that were hurt by the GM bankruptcy by carrying out safe and protective environmental cleanups, where necessary, and by selecting buyers who commit to investing in revitalization of these properties. We wish the city success as it pursues this transformative project.”
“This property’s unique combination of size and location make it ideally suited for a project that will make Muncie a regional leader in the generation of clean, renewable energy, and positions our community to attract additional investment from businesses that are focused on sustainability,” Mayor Ridenour said. “My administration has emphasized strong, healthy neighborhoods as a building block of citywide revitalization, and with this investment we are making clear that we are ready and willing to embrace initiatives that will benefit our residents and create a healthier environment. The Southwest side of Muncie is seeing some momentum due in part to the efforts of Habitat, the 8twelve Coalition, Open Door, and small businesses that are opening up. I believe that this investment by the City will help further that growth.”
The Muncie Sanitary District is also planning the placement of three solar fields on property it owns as well. The 39-acre site at the Water Treatment Plant on West Kilgore, the 5.35-acre site at the McCulloch Park Lift Station on Centennial and the 5.47-acre site at the Jake’s Creek Lift Station on W. Cypress Drive are all sites being evaluated at this time. These locations will use the solar power generated to help offset the electricity power needs of MSD.
“Muncie Sanitary District is happy to partner with the city to look at all options in attempting to reduce utility expenses,” said John Barlow, Muncie Sanitary District Administrator.
The former General Motors property will remain under contract to the city as it works to identify engineering and placement with the developer for the solar project. RACER will retain its environmental cleanup obligations for the property, working under the oversight of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. The City of Muncie has also been working with Robert Koester- Director of Energy Research, Sanglim Yoo- Ph.D, Donna Browne- Center for Energy Research, and Sherif Attallah- Associate Professor of Construction Management at Ball State University for assistance and counsel on these projects.
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