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Muncie to turn former GM site into solar field

(Provided Photo/City of Muncie)

MUNCIE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The city of Muncie has announced plans to acquire a 53-acre portion of the former General Motors Manual Transmission plant property from Michigan-based RACER Trust. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed until the sale closes, but the city says it plans to transform the site into a solar field.

The solar field, according to the city, will have the capacity to generate 24.6 million kWh of electricity. Mayor Dan Ridenour says the combination of the property’s size and location makes it ideal for such a project.

“My administration has emphasized strong, healthy neighborhoods as a building block of citywide revitalization, and with this investment we are making clear that we are ready and willing to embrace initiatives that will benefit our residents and create a healthier environment,” Ridenour said in a news release. “The Southwest side of Muncie is seeing some momentum due in part to the efforts of Habitat, the 8twelve Coalition, Open Door, and small businesses that are opening up. I believe that this investment by the City will help further that growth.”

The city says it will maintain ownership of the property as it works with a developer for the project. However, RACER Trust will retain its environmental remediation obligations for the site and will work under the oversight of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

“RACER’s mission is to help communities that were hurt by the GM bankruptcy by carrying out safe and protective environmental cleanups, where necessary, and by selecting buyers who commit to investing in revitalization of these properties,” said Elliott Laws of RACER administrative trustee EPLET LLC. “We wish the city success as it pursues this transformative project.”

RACER Trust acquired the entire GM site, along with dozens of others nationwide, in 2011 after GM’s bankruptcy in 2009. Over the last few years, the trust has sold portions of the property to various buyers, including Wisconsin-based Commonwealth Development Corp. of America to develop affordable housing, as well as Ross Community Center Inc. and M&M Bus Co. Inc.