July 31, 2006
Charlotte, NC - When a Charlotte ink company left its old flood-prone building for a modern new plant, it didn’t just leave a vacant building behind. It became a model for preventing flood losses, improving the environment and boosting the economy. INX International Ink Co. has donated its old plant and two acres on Little Sugar Creek to Mecklenburg County for open space and floodplain protection purposes.
INX International Ink Co. produced inks and dyes at its Cullman Avenue facility. But the property is adjacent to Little Sugar Creek and the building flooded repeatedly. Media note: Flooding in July 1997 was particularly severe and received extensive coverage.
Last year, INX relocated to a new manufacturing plant on Withers Cove Park Drive, near Westinghouse Boulevard. It then donated its empty, 45-year old Cullman Avenue buildings and land, worth $600,000, to Mecklenburg County. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services will tear down the two INX buildings and convert the flood-prone land to open space.
“We hope this will kick off our current mitigation effort to buy a dozen more buildings on Cullman Avenue that are at a high risk of flooding,” said Tim Trautman, Storm Water Services’ Flood Mitigation Program Manager. This voluntary program gives property owners an opportunity to relocate out of the floodplain in order to avoid the devastation that would occur again during the next flood.
INX International Ink Co. and the other buildings on Cullman Avenue were built before floodplains were mapped and restrictions placed on development next to creeks. Local and federal governments have determined that the most cost-effective way to reduce flood losses is to buy buildings that flood repeatedly, tear them down, and convert the land to open space. In the past seven years, Mecklenburg County has purchased more than 140 flood-prone buildings in Charlotte-Mecklenburg through a voluntary buyout program. In most cases, a third of the money for the buyouts comes from local storm water fees and the remaining two-thirds from federal mitigation grants.
In place of the commercial buildings on Cullman Avenue, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services hopes to eventually restore the floodplain to filter pollutants from runoff before the water flows into the creek. Removing the buildings protects lives and property. In the case of INX, the relocation allowed the company to expand its ink producing facility in Charlotte to a 42,000 square-foot facility that is the world’s largest 2-piece metal deco ink plant and employees 70 people. The INX plant in Charlotte produces the dyes and ink used on about 85-percent of the aluminum cans made in North America.