$3.3 million set for projects on Allen’s east side
Ry Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette
The Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board committed $3.3 million Wednesday to assist the NewAllen Alliance in seeking a Stellar Communities designation from the state.
The designation would open up millions in state and federal funding for east Allen County. NewAllen is one of six finalists for the program sponsored by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
After debating more than one resolution and several amendments, the CIB unanimously settled on a proposal that trimmed $200,000 from what the alliance had asked for – specifically, money for improvements at the New Haven Community Center.
At one point, the board voted on a resolution to cut all funding from that part of the proposal, but that motion failed.
The funding vote allows NewAllen to meet a Sept. 21 deadline for submitting a Stellar Communities application including proposals for about $63 million in economic development and quality-of-life improvement projects.
The amount passed by the CIB includes funding for four main projects, some different from what was proposed earlier.
The projects now include repurposing a previously approved grant of up to $1 million for New Haven to acquire the former Casad Depot property in order to turn it into an industrial park. That project was scrapped because of a federal government decision to put the property up for public auction and the likely need for a potentially expensive cleanup of hazardous contamination at the site.
Now the money can be used for other projects in the so-called New Haven Industrial Triangle – an area roughly bordered by Interstate 469 on the west, U.S. 30 on the south, U.S. 24 on the north and Webster Road on the east. The depot property amounts to about 5 percent of the Triangle’s land, New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald told the board.
New Haven is now working on a voluntary annexation of 174 acres just east of the city and the Interstate 469 exits on U.S. 30 for industrial purposes. New Haven is primed for such growth, but the problem has been finding large enough tracts of land, he said.
Other CIB-funded projects include $500,000 for expansion of industrial areas in Woodburn, $1.5 million for the Cedar Creek Parks Trail in Grabill and Leo-Cedarville, and $300,000 for the New Haven Community Center. The alliance had sought $500,000.
The total amount awarded was less than the $4.25 million the alliance asked for last month, when the board told members to come back with projects more suited to its mandate of promoting economic growth.
Because of the previous commitment of CIB money to the 258-acre Casad acquisition, the new money amounts to only $2.3 million. The CIB’s money comes from the food and beverage tax levied in local restaurants.
In recent weeks, the alliance has obtained commitments of $7.2 million from several local governments – $1 million from Leo-Cedarville, $750,000 from New Haven, $500,000 from Monroeville, $400,000 from Woodburn and $300,000 from Grabill. The county commissioners committed $4.25 million.
An Allen County Council funding commitment will be sought in October, said Kristi Sturtz, the alliance’s rural liaison.