New Carlisle Industrial Expansion: Good or Bad?

On June 28th a notice was mailed to some property owners in the expansion area and/or on the acquisition list. The notice was extremely vague, confusing and of course didn’t explain the reason the county adds properties to an acquisition list is so the county can use eminent domain to get the properties if needed. The notice stated there would be a public meeting July 12th at 9:00 AM. After going through the mail there would have been very short notice received & the meeting was during the day when most people are working. My opinion is the Redevelopment Commission didn’t want anybody to attend so there would be no objections & they could get the approval to do what they wanted.

Then 19 properties from the tracks, between Willow Rd and Walnut Rd to St Rd 2 were recently added to the acquisition list. Bill Schalliol, Executive Director of Economic Development has recently been on WNDU 22 and in the South Bend Tribune stating “While it has the power to invoke eminent domain that’s a last resort”. The county is currently having an additional 12 parcels appraised for planning from Edison Rd to St Rd 2 and between Willow Rd and Larrison Drive. A few months ago the county met with farmers in that area. Schalliol told me they are currently working with at least 6-7 industrial companies for this area.

The county is considering having a truck stop along St Rd 2 and Larrison Drive where an old gas station used to be. When I asked if a light would be put there due to heavy traffic, extreme speed & hilly road I was told it doesn’t qualify for a light.

The county also wants to put a toll road connection for the industrial park. Schalliol told me “the reason Spruce is being looked at is due to it lines up in the middle of the industrial park and only two homes are located on Spruce. The county hasn’t made a decision exactly where the exit will go. Spruce is an option.

Soon the county will be putting in water, septic and fiber optic lines part of the way down Walnut, down US 20 and part of the way down Smilax. Schalliol said this is due to the contract with the Energy Center located on Walnut Rd. Then at the meeting on Sept 12th at the local fire department after he was pushed further about this he said putting the utility lines in will make that area much more interesting for potential companies to come in.

Recently it was brought to my attention on October 11th at 6:00 PM South Bend time at the County-City building located at 227 West Jefferson Boulevard 4th floor South Bend the county council will be voting for the expansion and tax abatement for the SMS Shredder located on Smilax Rd. The SMS Shredder is requesting a 5 year personal property tax abatement and a 7 year real property tax abatement. The representative says “the anticipated plans for the facility are an Investment of $3.5 million ($2.5 million in new mobile shredding equipment purchases and $1 million for building, electrical and site improvements. The reason for this improvement is to reduce waste streams to landfill and improve metallic recoveries from materials being shredded”. This time the public has found out prior to the meeting. Voice your opinions and thoughts to the county council about the SMS Shredder by email at cocouncil@co.st-joseph.in.us or send them to my email at bealorvalerie@yahoo.com and I will deliver the letters personally to the county council. You do have a voice!

I have petitions against the New Carlisle industrial park expansion in New Carlisle located at: the library, Ace Hardware store, the Diner, the laundromat and Moser’s. I also created a face book page “New Carlisle Industrial Park” that has an electronic petition that can be signed. So far 138 signatures have been received. The petition deadline is Oct 10th due to it will be presented to the county council on Oct 11th . Maps of the expansion, the acquisition list, toll road connection, rail spur route & the utilities that will be ran down Walnut, US 20 & Smilax are on the face book page.

On the “Mega Plex” map the New Carlisle industrial park expansion says the closest regional “competition” is the Kingsbury Industrial park in LaPorte county. The Kingsbury Industrial park was thriving 40 years ago. Since then the majority of the buildings are empty, falling apart and should be condemned. Currently there are only a few factories open and the condition of those buildings are horrible. The land in the industrial park is not kept up and the roads have completely fallen apart.

Is this really something to gamble on for the gait way to the town of New Carlisle? Are there any guarantees that new companies will stay? Will the aquifer really be at risk?

Valerie Bealor New Carlisle

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