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Coffee roasters get tax cut from Waterloo Town Council

July 13th, 2016

By Dave Kurtz | KPC Media 

WATERLOO — A tax abatement for the town’s newest business was granted Tuesday by the Waterloo Town Council.

Three Bean Coffee Co. will have its property taxes phased in over five years on the former town hall at 280 N. Wayne St., which the company purchased in May.

Taxes for the coffee-roasting business will start at zero and progress by 20 percent each year until full taxation after five years.

“What we’re hoping for is to bring a unique business, especially to a town the size of Waterloo,” said Kevin Reed, who owns the business with his wife, Tawnie.

Reed said the couple want to start retail sales of coffee beans.

“Our intent will be to ensure there is a coffee shop in that block,” run either by themselves or separate owners, Reed said.

Reed said the coffee company also has made an offer to purchase the vacant Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

“We may end up with two buildings and, hopefully, a couple of viable businesses here in town,” Reed said.

Town Manager Tena Woenker told the council that Amtrak has accepted the town’s changes to terms for a lease of the historic Waterloo Depot, now in use as an Amtrak passenger station. Amtrak agreed that Waterloo can open the depot open an hour before the scheduled arrival of trains. The railroad service will pay the town $12.600 per year for five years.

The town’s Redevelopment Commission has voted to pay for installing security cameras in the depot that can be viewed in the police station.

Light too bright

Councll members told Woenker to look for a way to shield unwanted light from residents at Lincoln and Center near the depot.

“We are just blasting their house with incredible light¯ from one of the 22 streetlights installed for the depot project, she said. “I’d like to help them out,”

Woenker said the town’s new Park Board is moving forward with a pavilion for Pankop Park, at the corner of Colgrove and Rope streets in the town’s north edge.

The park will be finished by mid-August as planned, and will include playground equipment, she said. The town received a special discount from Nucor Corp. for pavilion materials, she added.

Donors gave land to the town three years ago on the promise that it would be developed as a neighborhood park.

Skate park discussed

The town’s Redevelopment Commission met last week and approved holding property at Wayne and Railroad street for a potential skate park. The commission gave a skate park committee until Jan. 1, 2018, to raise money for a skating area. The town acquired the land after a fire last year.

“If we do the skate park, we want it to be very prominent and right in the heart of town, where it’s very visible,” Woenker said. She said research shows “a lot of skate parks that fail are just too remote.”

The town has re-established its Board of Zoning Appeals, which had not been active for four years.

The board met recently to approve a tall, wooden privacy fence for a farmers market and garden at 375 N. Center St., just south of U.S. 6. The property owner wanted an 8-foot-tall fence on all sides, but needed a zoning variance for a fence taller than 4 feet in the front.

Eugene “Duke” Williams is the only remaining member of the zoning board. Jay Kern will serve as president, with Glen Hartman as vice president and Roger McDonald and Bob Scholler as members.

Woenker said the last of nine blighted houses to be demolished with a state grant should be torn down next week. The final demolition project is at 565 Oak St.

Council members heard from a resident who expressed concern about the condition of properties near her home.

Councilman William Hubartt asked for better enforcement of a town ordinance that forbids parking cars in a front yard between a sidewalk and a house.

“I’m tired of these people who do not take care of some of their properties,” Hubartt said.

The council also granted a request from the DeKalb County Council on Aging for a donation from the town of $7,170 in 2017, the same amount as in the previous two years.