Angola, Trine to partner for Regional Cities Initiative

April 25th, 2016

News Coverage:

April 21, 2016

Angola, Trine to partner for Regional Cities Initiative

Jennifer Decker | KPC Media

Angola will partner with Trine University and support its application for Regional Cities Initiative funds from the Regional Development Authority for the university’s arena project.

If granted, it would be the second project to receive money that was not part of the initial proposal.

The Angola Common Council approved a memo of understanding at an April 18 meeting that will lay out the city’s portion of the project.

Angola Mayor Dick Hickman said the agreement becomes part of Trine’s application to help fund its $16 million arena project that was announced about two weeks ago.

The estimated value of gifts-in-kind contributions from the city to Trine is $1.398 million. It includes $1.281 million for streets, rights-of-way, sidewalks and storm drainage; $34,288.71 as the hourly cost for city employee involvement; $60,450 for curbs; and $22,464 for sidewalks.

Hickman assumes the university will ask for a similar amount in funding from the RDA for the project. That means Trine would have to come up with slightly more than $13.2 million for the project. One large donation for the project has been mentioned, but the amount has not been revealed.

The RDA is steward of a $42 million pool of money that is supposed to go toward funding quality of life projects in northeast Indiana. The 11-county northeast Indiana group was one of three regions in the state to be granted Regional Cities money created by legislation passed in 2015.

Projects seeking funding must be at least 60 percent funded by private money, up to 20 percent public money (which can be in-kind) and up to 20 percent from Regional Cities.

Trine plans to add a new 3,000-seat athletic and events center, which will be the new home of the Thunder men and women’s basketball teams, and a 1,000-seat ice arena.

The ice arena will house three new Trine hockey teams, men’s and women’s teams in NCAA Division III and a men’s team that will compete in Division 1 of the American Collegiate Hockey Association. Those teams will begin competing in the fall of 2017.

The construction cost for the two athletic facilities is estimated at $16 million. When the project was announced, Trine President Earl D. Brooks II said construction will take 12-24 months, and he expects to break ground for the Thunder Ice Arena early this summer.

The memo says the city will vacate and give the following streets to Trine:

• University Avenue from Maumee to Gale streets;

• West Gale Street from Darling Street to the west end near the old depot;

• Saginaw from Railroad to South Kinney street; and

• Thunder Drive from the west end to South Darling Street.

The memo says the city will maintain ownership and maintenance of sewer and water on those streets. The city will also provide sidewalk and driveway curb cuts as negotiated.

Trine will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the streets. The university would grant easement to the city to repair or install existing or new utilities.

If Trine’s application is denied funding from the RDA or the Indiana Economic Development Corp., which has final say in applications for funding, the memo of understanding becomes null and void.

Councilwoman Kathy Armstrong asked what the street vacations would do to the Rice Bowl, a West Maumee Street business, since it is surrounded by Trine. She was told nothing would happen and that property lines are in place.

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