Hobart unveils compressed natural gas pumps, garage

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City of Hobart Head Mechanic Johnny VanVleet demonstrates the city’s new compressed natural gas fueling pumps at the unveiling of the station and vehicle maintenance garage Tuesday.

The City of Hobart and its partners on Tuesday unveiled its new compressed natural gas fueling pumps and vehicle maintenance garage at the city’s Public Works facility.

“I am incredibly proud to see these projects become a reality,” Mayor Brian Snedecor said. “All Hobart residents will benefit from these grant-funded projects, which will provide more efficient city services, cleaner air and future expansion of our compressed natural gas fleet.”

The compressed natural gas fueling pumps and vehicle maintenance garage projects equaled more than $2 million. The projects were made possible in part by a Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant from the Federal Highway Administration administered by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) and acquired with the assistance of South Shore Clean Cities. The grant provided 80 percent of the funding.

“Mayor Snedecor pledged years ago to make Hobart a trendsetter in Regional green efforts and in a very short period of time, has clearly accomplished that goal,” South Shore Clean Cities Project Manager Ryan Lisek said. “We are proud of the longstanding partnership with our member The City of Hobart and all that we have accomplished together.”

The new, $600,000 compressed natural gas fueling pumps — constructed and fueled by Ozinga Energy — will reduce travel time for the city’s fleet. Previously, Public Works crews had to drive to Gary or Hammond to fuel the city’s compressed natural gas vehicles.

The new, $1.45 million maintenance garage is more than double the size of the previous facility and will accommodate the city’s growing compressed natural gas fleet while allowing city employees to work on the sustainably-fueled vehicles in-house.

Greg Martz of GM Development Co., assisted the city with the financing for the garage project and remaining 20 percent match of the compressed natural gas fueling pumps. The city has dedicated Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road and Street funds for repayment.

During Tuesday’s event, the city also debuted a new video produced in cooperation with South Shore Clean Cities and videographer Bob Guerrero of New Concept Video Sports highlighting Hobart’s transition from The Friendly City to The Eco-Friendly City. The video details Hobart’s commitment to sustainable practices through the years, starting with the addition of the first compressed natural gas-powered garbage truck in 2014 and ending with the addition of the new compressed natural gas fueling pumps and vehicle maintenance garage. The video is available at https://vimeo.com/242309261.

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