New Haven to decide on Casad annexation

April 2nd, 2018

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

After many years of trying, the city of New Haven may get its figurative fingers on the former Casad Depot if a resolution passes City Council on Tuesday night.

The resolution enables the city to annex the half of the depot's roughly 270 acres that lie outside the city limits, said Brian Yoh, New Haven's director of planning and economic development.

Passage won't transfer ownership to the city, he said. But to have the whole property within New Haven “gives us a better position at the table” when the property is disposed of by the federal government, he said.

The depot, which lies on the north side of Dawkins Road east of Interstate 469 between Ryan and North Webster roads, was developed during World War II to manufacture and store defense-related materials and hazardous chemicals.

The federal government stopped using the site in 2011, and the General Services Administration has indicated it is interested in getting rid of the property, which has undergone environmental cleanup.

Last year, the Allen County-Fort Wayne Capital Improvement Board committed up to $1 million to New Haven to buy the site and turn it into an industrial park. Officials have pegged the site's value at $1.5 million.

Yoh said several structures on the property have fallen into disrepair, with caved-in roofs and other obstacles to reuse. They will likely have to be torn down, he said. However, the property has access to a rail siding that should make it attractive to some industrial users, Yoh said.

“If you look at an aerial (photo), you can still see how the railroad comes off the main line and you can drop cargoes there,” he said. “So we see the value of the property as a heavy rail facility.”

Yoh said the annexation will not be immediate. And purchase depends on when the government lists it and whether New Haven is selected, Yoh said.

Still, acquiring the site “is something that City Council is really focused on,” Yoh added. “We have a great economy right now, and ground is getting scarce.

“We want to see that property that taxpayers have paid for already ... put back into private enterprise and see it generate tax income and jobs for New Haven residents.”

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