New Haven mayor supports EACS plans, sets goal for growth

March 14th, 2016

News Coverage:

March 14, 2016

New Haven mayor supports EACS plans, sets goal for growth

Kevin Leininger | News-Sentinel

As New Haven enters its 150th year as an incorporated community, Mayor Terry McDonald today was expected to encourage voters to support $87.5 million in school improvements that could help increase the population of Allen County's second-largest city to 20,000 by 2025.

McDonald, who in the past has been so critical of the East Allen County Schools that he once suggested New Haven create its own, was expected to support the district's school-improvement plan in his annual state of the city address to be delivered at 7 p.m. Monday at the Orchid Reception Hall.

"I have seen with my own eyes the improvements in our school district," McDonald stated in an advance draft of his address. "We must have improved and expanded buildings for our students. We are in desperate need of improvements to our beloved New Haven High School. We are the only high school (in EACS) that doesn't have the 7th and 8th grades on the same campus . . . we need a new intermediate school building. The transformation of the Indiana 930 corridor will see with the demolition of the old middle school ... (and) the building of a brand new 3-6 grade school will be remarkable."

As one of the city's most-affordable communities, approval of the plan by voters this fall would increase taxes on a four-bedroom home worth $127,000 by about $43.88 per year, he said.

Echoing northeast Indiana's "Road to One Million" proposal, McDonald said he will ask city planners to work toward the goal of increasing New Haven's population from its current 15,000 to 20,000 by 2025. The city has a lot going for it, McDonald said, and "We need to market our community much more in order to let the world around us know what we offer."

New Haven's ability to grow has been enhanced, McDonald said, by state legislation that will help the city compete for its share of local food and beverage taxes through the Capital Improvement Board.

The past year has seen continued economic growth, downtown improvements and the beginning of work toward a long-proposed community center, McDonald noted. In this, New Haven's sesquicentennial year, McDonald said he is excited by plans to observe the event and promised a "wide variety of activities and opportunities for everyone . . . we are planning for our future with enthusiasm. Let's grab it and make it ours!"