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Crews find gas tanks during construction project in Noblesville, businesses hoping it doesn't bring delays

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Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 10, 2024

UPDATE | INDOT says the received approval to continue work on State Road 32 after testing of the tanks were completed.

NOBLESVILLE— A piece of history could delay reconstruction on Noblesville Square.

Last week, INDOT crews working on the State Road 32 project found old gas tanks in the ground. Some of those tanks are estimated to be 100 years old.

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"Some of the tanks were small and some were over 500 gallons," said Kurt Meyer, a real estate agent in Noblesville who deals with historic properties.

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When Meyer found out about the gas tanks, he pulled out a fire insurance map from 1922.

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"Low and behold, I ID'd five tanks," said Meyer.

Meyer says the area near the judicial center was livery stables in the 1850's and then become auto garages.

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"So, when I look at the 1922 map, you see one after another. It says garage capacity 20 cars and you’ll also see every one of them has a gas tank in front of it," said Meyer.

On Wednesday, crews were testing the samples of the soil to make sure it's not contaminated. Businesses on Conner Street are hoping those tests come back OK.

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"The tanks, that’s a major set back," said Mike Schmaltz, a server at Uptown Cafe.

Construction has been going on in the area since April, but moved in front of Uptown Cafe in June. Despite the impact on business, Schmaltz says they're looking forward to the end result.

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"It's going to look a lot nicer down here for sure," Schmaltz said.

INDOT says they're still able to do work on the project. While they wait for the samples to come back, crews have been hanging stop lights. They expect results by Friday or Monday.