East Bank Village community victorious in battle with AEP, no Niles Ave substation
Neighbors are calling it "democracy it's finest." After months of protesting a proposed substation on Niles Avenue in South Bend, the community has won.
Friday afternoon, Indiana Michigan Power said they are nixing the plan to build the new substation right in the middle of the East Bank Village.
It was a point of contention in the community. The new substation was to be built in the middle of the neighborhood, in an effort to improve power reliability in South Bend.
"Some undeveloped land was located along Niles, so we evaluated that site, brought it back to the public, and got a lot of public feedback," says Tracy Warner, a spokesperson for Indiana Michigan Power.
The feedback was negative. The community was not happy that the substation was next to a dog park, homes, and businesses.
Businesses like Bob Richthammer's video production company, located just steps away from where the station was to be developed.
But now, Richthammer, like so many others, are rejoicing in their victory. They're happy the substation won't be built in their neighborhood.
"We have decided that the one downtown will be rebuilt at our current substation site at Colfax, and the other substation location we had looked at, on Niles Avenue, will not be used for the substation," says Warner.
"We're really happy about the decision that AEP made to keep the substation on Colfax, and not moving it to the property right next to our building," adds Richthammer
He was worried what would happen if their petition and many meetings didn't work.
"I think it may have put a real damper on some of the construction and a lot of good things that are happening here on the East Bank Village," explains Richthammer.
While people realize the need to make sure the power stays on, they're just happy it won't be on their turf."
"I feel a real sense of relief," says Richthammer. "The fact that they're upgrading everything is obviously a positive, and the fact they're listening to everybody's input just makes it more of a positive."