Oct. 29–CLARKSVILLE — Town leaders are hoping the ongoing removal of tanks at a Marathon Petroleum site will be a step forward in its long-term redevelopment plans for south Clarksville.
On Oct. 5, the town of Clarksville Building Commission issued a permit to Marathon Petroleum for the demolition of 10 tanks at 214 Center St. According to the permit, Interdyne Corp., an environmental services company, has been contracted for the removal.
The property, located between the Colgate-Palmolive complex and Ashland Park, is currently owned by Marathon. Operations at the property ended in 2009, and the pumping facility and tanks were decommissioned.
The town was not involved with the decision to remove the tanks. In an emailed response to a media inquiry, Marathon declined to comment on the company’s decision or its plans for the property.
The demolition is at the expense and effort of Marathon, Clarksville Redevelopment Director Dylan Fisher said. The town has made multiple attempts in previous years to encourage the company to demolish the tanks and facilitate development.
Fisher said he hopes the site will soon be purchased for redevelopment. However, the town does not have information regarding any potential developers or future plans for the property.
“We’re excited to see the tanks come down, but we know just as much as everyone else,” Fisher said.
The Marathon site is a key part of the town’s South Clarksville Redevelopment Plan, which was adopted into Clarksville’s Comprehensive Plan in 2016. The plan describes a vision for the revitalization of a 320-acre area extending from Ohio River to Stansifer Avenue, including public gathering spaces, restaurants, shops, bicycle trails, walkable streets and entertainment venues.
According to the redevelopment plan, the cleanup of the Marathon oil terminal site is considered a top priority. The site was identified as one of the biggest obstacles to future redevelopment due to the potential for contamination. The plan describes goals “remediate and redevelop aged and abandoned industrial brownfield sites,” including the Marathon site.
The Marathon property spans 25 acres of land, including 15 acres with seven unused bulk oil tanks. Multiple underground storage tanks have been identified in the area, and the redevelopment plan describes the 15-acre portion to be of most concern in terms of soil contamination, although it has not officially received a brownfield designation from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted in the South Clarksville area in 2015, which identified the potential for contamination based on the site’s long industrial history, Fisher said. However, the assessment was primarily based on how the property was used historically, and the soil still needs to be tested in a Phase 2 ESA before development can proceed.
This year, Clarksville received a $440,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for examination of potential redevelopment sites, including areas in south Clarksville. However, the grant funds, which cover Phase 1 and Phase 2 ESAs, will not specifically apply to the Marathon site, Fisher said.
The South Clarksville Redevelopment plan describes concepts for a mixed-use town center. Developments such as multi-family housing or offices are among the possibilities for the Marathon site — it just depends on what private investors or developers bring to the table, Fisher said.
The redevelopment plan presents several concepts for the Marathon site, including “larger-scale, destination-oriented” developments. For example, the plan suggests a cultural facility such as a museum, science center or an aquarium that would be visible above the levee.
Fisher said the town is happy to see the demolition of the tanks and the remnants of Marathon’s former facility, and he hopes their absence will encourage developers to invest in the south Clarksville area.
“Those [tanks] are easy items for people to point at and decide not to invest there,” he said. “Just for them to be gone is a big hurdle.”
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