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Officials approve clean up plans for a downtown Lafayette property

Work will begin soon on a slum and blight spot in downtown Lafayette. The city and the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation (WREC) are moving forward with clean-up of the property once owned by Midwest Rentals. The 2.3 acre site sits along the river and is bounded by South Street, railroad tracks and Sycamore Street.

The Lafayette Board of Works approved contracts Tuesday with IWM Consulting Group for $259,000 covering environmental services and with Denney Excavating for $218,000 covering the demolition and excavation work.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski says taking care of this property is a big part of the master plan for the Wabash River.

“The old porta-potty site, for lack of a better term, as you come across the bridge there, has been an eyesore in our community for quite some time,” he says.

While talks continue to acquire four more parcels along the riverfront, Roswarski says cleaning up the Midwest site will take the overall effort to the next level.

“We have several acres of ground through there now that will be environmentally clean and that will be out of the floodplain,” he says. “We’re very excited about this and how that will change the appearance of our community as people come across the bridge into Lafayette.”

WREC Executive Director Stan Lambert says funding for the cleanup project comes from an Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant of $500,000. He says there’s a $50,000 matching grant, which WREC is covering with its share of the Innkeepers tax.

“The project will clean up the environmental surface and ground contamination that is onsite. It also will demolish two existing metal pole barn structures that are there and remove all of the concrete slabs that are there,” Lambert says. “We’ll get underway here in the next few weeks.”

There are no plans for the property, but a mixed use project with business and office space, along with residential units, is the most likely scenario for redevelopment.

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