Neighborhood Association Negotiates Compromise On Tillotson Substation

Photo of future power station taken by Mike Rhodes
Future home of substation at Corner of University Ave and Tillotson Ave.
Photo by: Mike Rhodes | 
Written by Erin Moore—

Indiana Michigan Power and American Electric Power (IMP/AEP) has begun construction on a new substation on Tillotson Avenue between Riverside Avenue and University Avenue. The final design, approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, reflects years and hundreds of hours of negotiations between the Kenmore Neighborhood Association and decision makers with the City of Muncie, IMP/AEP, and Ball State.

The neighborhood association extensively researched and proposed options to influence the substation’s placement and footprint. The association advocated for gas insulated switchgear (GIS) technology, an underground retention pond, massive landscaping, and setting the substation back from University Avenue, which were all adopted in the final plan.

“Some of our recommendations were not adopted, like vertically lowering the substation, positioning the station behind McDonalds, or placing the station in buildings architecturally congruent with our neighborhood,” said Paul Spengler, neighborhood association president. “But we faced impossible odds and were able to reach a compromise.”

The station will be housed in two metal clad 25-foot buildings, the tops of which will appear as houses. An oval driveway will be accessible from University. The entire area will be enclosed by a 10 foot wall. Tony Costello, a local architect, has been retained to design the wall and landscaping.

“We fought the good fight and are grateful for the support of so many people, including individuals at Ball State and Mayor Dennis Tyler,” said Spengler. The mayor plans to attend the association’s next meeting to talk more with residents.