INDIANAPOLIS — The City-County Council gave the final go ahead Monday night for an area on the west side to be rezoned for a wastewater treatment facility.
The land is along Tibbs Avenue just down from Morris Street. Currently, it’s used as a metal scrap yard.
Neighbors near the site have been fighting it along the way. Jessica Saenz is the vice president of the West Indy Neighborhood Congress. She said WINC has gathered more than 400 signatures of nearby neighbors worried about the effects of the facility.
”We’ve historically been neglected and dumped on,” Saenz said.
She and other concerned west side residents showed up to the Monday night City-County Council Meeting. The council approved the proposal to rezone the area of Tibbs Ave. for the wastewater facility and several in the audience against the facility stood up and left when that happened.
”We cannot hook up to the station, we just bear the burden of it,” Saenz said. “Which is a major problem for us. It’s just in our boundaries and doesn’t serve us.”
Saenz and others live in District 16, represented by Councilor Kristin Jones. Jones said the facility is set to serve about a thousand people in her district and about 16,000 in District 22, represented by Councilor Jared Evans.
”When they talk about consequences, there are no consequences to this,” Evans said. “It’s going to clean up the site. The conservancy office made really good commitments to this including cleaning up the frontage on Tibbs Avenue.”
Ben Davis Conservancy District will build the wastewater treatment facility. Evans said by having its own facility, this will save BDCD customers money.
”One of those options is to build their own treatment facility that could be utilized in a way that could keep prices from being maxed out,” Evans said.
That does not change the fact the Saenz and others worried wouldn’t use it, but Evans said they won’t even notice it.
”You’re just going to drive by and you’re just going to see trees, you’re going to see a green space, you’re going to see something that is aesthetically much better looking for the community than what is currently there and what has been there for the last 70 years,” Evans said.
Along with the treatment facility, the portion of Tibbs Ave would get a new sidewalk, berm, trees, a wrought iron fence and streetlights. The area the facility would sit on would also go to more green space.
Jones said this would also decrease truck traffic in the area.
”One thing that I hear constantly from my neighbors constantly is about the truck traffic that is tearing up our roads along this development,” she said.
One of the biggest concerns for Saenz and neighbors is what the facility would smell like.
”It’s going to be hard to convince people that sewage doesn’t stink,” Saenz said.
But Jones and Evans said this facility will have state of the art technology limiting the odor. Evans said he went to a similar facility nearby to see for himself.
”I stood two feet above these open containers, and you don’t just smell what they’re saying you smell,” Evans said. “It’s not a bad smell. Utilizing today’s technology we think its a very good facility to put there.”
Saenz and others aren’t so sure about that.
Even with the rezoning proposal passing Monday and the treatment facility going forward, they say they’ll keep pushing.
”We’re going to keep going forward the best that we can with whatever options we can exercise,” she said.
Councilors Evans and Jones said they have been told construction will start on the wastewater treatment facility later this summer and the facility should be finished in about two years.