Many additions are coming to the Terre Haute area in the next few years that will definitely affect us as a university and a city.

A new jail will be built behind the Honey Creek Mall on property that was once a golf course. This new jail is being opened because of the overcrowding issue in the other jail. It wasn’t something that was to be voted on, the state is requiring it; it was just a matter of where and when.

Currently, the timeline is unknown for when the jail will be built. 

Brad Anderson, President of the Vigo County Commissioners, estimates that construction will start sometime in October. 

The cost is estimated to be about $60 million dollars according to Tribstar (Greninger). The process is lengthy. A jail site has to be purchased before any design plans are made. 

It will then take 3-5 months to make the design, seeing as it has to include over 500 beds and be 140,000 square feet.  

Another new infrastructure coming to the area is the new casino. The official vote will be Nov. 5, but it looks like the city is heading in the direction of yes, for multiple reasons. 

WTHI reports having expectations of 500 jobs to open up. Indiana also recently passed a gaming bill that allows for mobile gambling and for the new casino to be built here in Terre Haute. 

Building the new casino would bring much needed revenue to Vigo County. I think many students would also join in. 

The downside to the casino is crime rates. 

A study from PolitiFact found that within three years of a casino being build, “eight percent of property crime and ten percent of violent crime in counties with casinos was due to the presence of a casino” (Stirgus). 

If this is the case, that new jail might come in handy.

On a positive note, Vigo County is expecting to build a tiny house village for the homeless community in Terre Haute. 

This past Thursday, Terre Haute City Council voted 9-0 approving the idea. There are over 600 citizens in the county without homes. 

Mental Health America of West Central Indiana is posing this idea to help the community improve its mental health and get back on their feet (98.5 The River). 

The homes are planning to include all the necessities like a full kitchen, bed and bath, and most importantly lots of windows for sunlight to improve the mental health of the person living there. 

Besides the homes being provided, the staff at Mental Health America will also include “mental health counseling, substance abuse education, living education, diabetes education,” according to Jase Allsup, who’s the Director of Development for Mental Health America. 

I think this is a wonderful idea. 

For almost two years, I worked for United Way in the Mobile Market which provided fresh fruits and vegetables to those in lower income areas. 

At one point, we joined with the Catholic food charities to start a program that gave vouchers to 20 people who had diabetes and once a week they came to a pop-up kitchen to learn how to cook healthy food for them and their families. Following, they were allotted a certain amount of money to buy the foods needed for this.

Many people don’t have the education necessary to know how to take care of themselves, let alone the utensils. 

Just because someone doesn’t have all the means to be healthy, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be. 

This program will hopefully boost the mental health of many living in Terre Haute as well as educate them to take the best care of themselves that they can. 

As well, ISU students who are part of the engineering or housing development programs will be the ones building the homes. Indiana State is already such a large volunteer in the community and this is another good way to be involved. The projected start for the project is spring of 2020. 

I think many students are not aware of what is happening in their own community. Since many of us aren’t from the area, we think the decisions that are made do not affect us, but it is quite the contrary. 

We live here pretty much nine out of twelve months of the year. Whenever a decision is made on taxes or infrastructure, it directly affects us. 

Paying attention and being more active in the community could immensely help us. Even just voting in the midterms can help us. We make up such a large percentage of this city, why not use our power to do something good?