Farmers raise concerns over proposal to move ditch

NOW: Farmers raise concerns over proposal to move ditch

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.--- Farmers working in New Carlisle packed Monday morning’s St. Joseph County Drainage Board meeting to express their concerns about a pending proposal to move the Niesponziany Ditch.

The ditch would be moved west in order to accommodate the proposed Indiana Enterprise Center.

“We have no ideas what kind of companies are going in,” said Jennifer Betz, a member of the Open Space & Agricultural alliance. “We have no ideas on what kind of protections for the water, for the soil, for the air.”

Brent Burkas owns the Mitchell Black Farm in South Bend. He attended Monday’s meeting to share his story of how his farm has been affected by ditches being altered near his farm during the construction of the Four Winds Casino.

“We’ve had some development near our farm and it flooded out one of our fields,” said Burkas. “I can’t put corn out there next year, so I’ve got 30 acres that I cannot farm next year.”

Drainage Board members assured those in attendance today that they had not received any official proposals to move the Niesponziany Ditch and they would not be making any decisions without alerting the public first.

“In order to move the ditch, we would probably have to have a public hearing and that would have to be advertised,” said County Surveyor John McNamara. “That was not today, and we have no plans for the immediate future.”

St. Joseph County Economic Development officials tell ABC 57 that they are currently working on proposals to move the Niespoziany Ditch and will present them later this year.

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