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Sewer deal to ease Center Grove area development impasse

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Development at a key Center Grove area intersection, hindered in the past by rules about sewer service, can now move forward.

Greenwood and Bargersville have agreed to exchange sewer pipes, ending confusion about who should provide sewer service created during a fight to annex land along State Road 135.

During that dispute, a Goodwill store and a possible medical complex have been on hold over struggles to get sewer service to the properties near Stones Crossing Road where they would be built. Now, Greenwood and Bargersville have agreed to make development possible in the area.

A Greenwood rule that new construction must use the city’s sewer service, even though the system in that area couldn’t handle the needs of new development, has slowed development, city community development services director Mark Richards has said.

Goodwill twice has attempted to build a store in the area, with one project falling through a few years ago and another having to be delayed this year.

Franciscan Alliance has waited more than six months to buy 20 acres at State Road 135 and Grove Crossing Boulevard for a possible new urgent care center and medical offices. The organization needed to know whether Bargersville and Greenwood would agree to let new development hook onto Bargersville’s sewer system, spokesman Joe Stuteville has said.

The sewer issues started after Greenwood sued to stop Bargersville from annexing land north of Stones Crossing Road in 2008. The case went to the state supreme court, which decided what land Bargersville and Greenwood got. After the annexation, Bargersville ended up with sewer pipes in Greenwood, and Greenwood owned sewer lines in Bargersville.

The disagreement halted projects in the area, said Brian Cross, a consultant working to negotiate a land deal with Goodwill.

One Goodwill store, planned for the northwest corner of Stones Crossing Road and State Road 135, fell apart a few years ago because Greenwood couldn’t guarantee the company sewer service, he said.

The current Goodwill project, planned to be a 15,000-square-foot store near the intersection, has been delayed because the land purchase has taken two or three months longer than expected, Cross said. Goodwill wouldn’t agree to buy the land until the company could be sure of getting sewer service, he said.

The new agreement between Greenwood and Bargersville will let the city and town provide sewer service to homes and businesses within their boundaries. Temporarily, new construction along State Road 135 in Greenwood will hook onto Bargersville sewers. Existing businesses in Greenwood, such as the Hearth at Stones Crossing, will continue to get Bargersville sewer service for now.

Greenwood will later get the city customers, including new development, from Bargersville. The city will hook those customers onto the Greenwood sewer system once the city builds a sewer main in the area.

If the city installs the sewer main within one year of finalizing the agreement, then the city will pay Bargersville $8,200 per month in exchange. The city will earn more money once the customers hook onto its system, so the agreement ensures Bargersville is compensated for losing customers.

Bargersville should be able to hook customers onto the Bargersville sewer system within the next six months, town council member Ken Zumstein said. Monthly sewer fees should stay about the same, he said.

The agreement got city board of works and Bargersville Town Council approvals in June and will go into effect as soon as the mayor and town manager sign the document. The developers looking to build in Greenwood can then go to Bargersville to request sewer service.

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