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Potential substation move has South Bend neighbors concerned

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -

South Bend families and businesses are up in arms over the proposed relocation of AEP Indiana Michigan Power’s Colfax Avenue Substation.

The potential move is part of a $20 million dollar project that would take the substation a half-mile up the road to a site on Niles Avenue.

Monday night, just steps away at the Residence Inn, the community and local leaders met to discuss their current and future options.

When Nicole Flynn and her husband built a new house on Hill St. last summer, they could have never predicted this.

"One of the attractive things about this home was the green space and the river right below. With the thought there wouldn’t be a huge development built right behind us,” said Flynn.

But a proposed Indiana Michigan Power Substation could change all of that.

Jon O’Sullivan and business partner Bob Richthammer own a business at the proposed site.

“The substation would be dug out of the side of this hill over here and come out about halfway,” said O’Sullivan.

Monday night, over 50 concerned neighbors along with nearby business owners were on hand to voice their questions and concerns to a member of AEP and members of the South Bend Common Council.

"I still think there are better options that are away from all the people and their houses,” said O’Sullivan.

All in hopes, that the current substation at Colfax stays put.

 “I like them to take their concerns of the homeowners in the neighborhood and hoping that they will reconsider moving the substation and keeping it where it is located right now,” said Flynn.

Those neighbors and businesses have already gathered a fair amount of signatures to petition that potential move and said their next step is to put pressure on Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Indiana Michigan Power said they are working with the South Bend Common Council to make sure if the proposed site is accepted, they will be able to keep the overall height of the structure to a reasonable length, to not impede on existing homes over the hillside.

If passed construction would begin in 2018.

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