Public forum focuses on improving Terre Haute's infrastructure

Ways to improve Terre Haute's infrastructure was the focus of a public forum on Wednesday night.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 11:23 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - 4th and Ohio Street in Downtown Terre Haute may be all patched up now, but just two weeks ago a massive sinkhole was stopping traffic.

"I thought I got to see this thing," said Jason Saavedra, "So we actually, my family, went by there and looked at it and up close it was just amazing to see."

The sinkhole, which was reported to be about 18 ft. deep, may have been exciting to see at first. However, for Saavedra, it'd be shortly filled with concerns.

"I wonder how many more of those there are out there," he said, "and I just hope that there's a way that the city can maybe check for them in the future just to prevent people from getting hurt."

Ways to improve Terre Haute's infrastructure was the focus of a public forum on Wednesday night. The discussion, led by Pat Goodwin, created a platform for neighbors and local leaders to talk about solutions in correcting and improving city streets, sidewalks and sewers.

Vigo County Councilman Brendan Kearns was among a handful of local officials in attendance.

"We have a lot of issues," said Kearns, "and the things is, we've heard this over and over tonight 'we need tax dollars'. Well, there's a lot of money there, I think what we need to do is look at efficiencies and spend that tax dollar a lot smarter."

An idea that was discussed at the forum was possibly consolidating city and county departments.

"What we have to do is look at how we can combine services, not eliminate positions," Kearns said, "I think what you'll find is when you consolidate services, it actually may result in creating new jobs."

"I'll be the first to tell you, I know nothing about roads and bridges other than I drive on them, I'm not qualified to do it," he added, "but I do see the importance of having high-quality, talented people within the county and the city to make those decisions and to keep those things running. So yeah, if merging departments here, looking at how we can combine city services and county services, we absolutely have to do it."

Wednesday's discussion was about bringing all sides to fix a community issue with a goal of patching up concerns, as well as sinkholes too.

"We can't have cars falling into those, especially we had a fire truck that could've fallen through it," said Saavedra, "We can't have things like that happening, so what can we do to prevent that from happening in the future? I'm not sure, but I hope the city leaders are paying attention."

As a reminder, you can call the City of Terre Haute to report local road problems. You can call 311.

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