The City contracted TRC to develop the specifications for project bidding. TRC identified some of the usual materials for recycling such as scrap metal and the mercury from fluorescent light ballasts. As TRC was evaluating filling in the basements and sub-basements of some of the buildings, it determined that this would be a significant cost for the project, potentially as much as 25% of the total demolition cost. TRC determined an alternative would be to use crushed concrete from the demolition to fill in the basements and sub-basements, which would result in both significant cost savings and environmental benefits. Cost savings were associated with saving money on disposal fees and by not having to purchase new material for filling. The reusing of material for backfill cut down on the emissions of air pollutants, including greenhouse gases, from the transportation and manufacturing of new materials. After confirming with the Indiana Finance Authority Brownfields Program that the use of crushed concrete was an acceptable recycling/reuse option, the solution was included in the project specifications.
The demolition project, including the remedial asbestos abatement activities, structural demolition, and reuse of the crushed concrete, was put up for public bidding. The project was awarded for under $4 million dollars, which was half of the original funding requested from the Indiana Finance Authority. This cost savings allowed the City to fully finance the project with tax increment finance funding supplemented with contributions from Wayne County and the former owner, which eliminated the need for long term debt service for the City.
Site demolition began by clearing the property. Trees and underbrush were cleared and removed. Mature trees that did not interfere with demolition were left on-site, including a historically significant ginkgo tree.
Soft demolition followed as non-structural elements were removed from the inside of the buildings. These materials (primarily wood, plastic, floor coverings, and wallpaper) were removed as they were not suitable as fill material or other recycling/reuse measures. The soft demolition consisted of roughly three percent of the total demolition debris.
After the soft demolition was complete, structural demolition began. During demolition, the debris was sorted and stockpiled to be processed. General construction and demolition debris that could not be recycled or reused was disposed. Metal was sorted by type and loaded for recycling. The remaining building rubble was crushed to an appropriate size to be used as backfill on site. While there is an additional cost to crushing the concrete, it has to be broken up anyway before transportation, and the cost is less than it would be to transport it to a landfill. Before crushing, the material had to be approved by IDEM to alleviate soil, groundwater, and air pollution concerns. While crushing, the material was wetted down to prevent dust from being emitted. The site was also far enough away from roadways and residential areas for noise pollution to not be a factor for this project.
Backfill activities began afterwards using the crushed concrete. All of the fill material used originated from the onsite building rubble that was crushed and processed. No offsite material was brought in saving the City money and reducing their environmental impact. This process included compacting the backfill material and putting it in the basements and sub-basement.
Removal of the parking lot also provided opportunity for reuse of materials. An asphalt milling machine removed the asphalt and exposed the stone bedding below. The stone bedding was used as backfill throughout the site while the asphalt was used as new road bedding at other facilities.
Throughout the project, the City conducted periodic public outreach. This included a City of Richmond Common Council Meeting to discuss the demolition and monthly public updates by the TRC Project Manager, Brooks Bertl, at the City Council Meetings. Quarterly updates to the Common Council also occurred.
As the site was already enrolled in the Indiana Brownfields Program, the City began working with the Indiana Finance Authority for consideration of a USEPA Revolving Loan Fund Grant. The Indiana Finance Authority determined the removal of the hazardous material, mainly asbestos, on the site would be eligible for a USEPA Revolving Loan Fund grant while the demolition of the actual structures would not. The Indiana Finance Authority assisted the City with applying for an Indiana State Revolving Fund loan for non-environmental, municipal projects. The Indiana Finance Authority agreed to fund the entirety of the project upfront for approximately $8 million through a Revolving Loan Fund grant and a State Revolving Fund loan. Under this arrangement, the City was required to repay the loans through tax increment financing (TIF).
The total cost of the project, after administrative and oversite consideration, was $5 million. The City financed the cost with $3.5 million from TIF funding, $500,000 from Wayne County, and $1 million from the private funds of former property owners. The City saved $1.087 million dollars on the project by using the former structure’s concrete as backfill and $79,000 by recycling the asphalt. The City also received a $96,000 credit for the recycling of scrap metal. This savings prevented the City from needing to use revolving loan funds and long-term debt financing.
The City started looking for funding in 2016 and reached full completion in December 2018. Demolition activities took place from December 2017 to December 2018.