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New Carlisle considers new ideas for economic development

New ideas for industrial projects are popping up in New Carlisle and with those projects could come more jobs. While nothing is set in stone yet, some major ideas are being tossed around.

First, you could see some new roads and maybe even new railways in the near future, but ideas for even bigger industrial moves are being brought up.

“We’ve spent the last two years trying to build pieces and parts out in New Carlisle to set the table for industrial development,” said Bill Schalliol, Executive Director of Saint Joseph County Economic Development.

The Economic Development team is hoping to attract some major projects for that area of New Carlisle in the next couple of years.

“Building a lot of pieces that make new Carlisle really attractive,” said Schalliol.

“If you don’t do anything, if you just stand still, you move backwards… because you have to have growth to make things work,” said Kenneth Sebasty, a farmer in New Carlisle whose farming property was bought out for the new Saint Joseph Energy Center power plant that sits on the corner of Walnut and Edison Road in New Carlisle.

Schalliol says they already have several projects finished and some underway.

“Upgrading utilities, putting in new roads, we’re working with the railroad to bring railroads to the area,” said Schalliol.

But now, they’re hoping to catch the attention of some large scale names for the area too.

“Toyota has an Indiana presence. There are some local connections to Toyota,” said Schalliol.

Schalliol says his team has not yet met directly with the Toyota-Mazda team about their interests in the 1.6 billion dollar project, however he thinks he already knows what they’re looking for. 

“Across the state of Indiana, there are only two or three sites that would be suitable for this kind of project ad we believe that as we put the pieces together out in New Carlisle, we certainly would put ourself up on the list a little higher,” said Schalliol.

If Toyota-Mazda were to build in New Carlisle, that could mean around 4,000 jobs.

“I can’t see why they could find anything better than this with the steel plant right across the road and the electric plant here. I put my whole life into better conditions, working for the working people and jobs are so important. If this Toyota auto plant goes in, we’re going to have work for everybody,” said Sebasty.

A spokesperson gave a statement to ABC 57 about the opportunity saying “We are just beginning the discovery process and working to quickly outline our priorities, criteria and other metrics to help define a cohesive strategy for this project. For your reference, we are working through Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) to gather information on candidate sites. As we solidify our plans, we will share more information about the selection process."

In the meantime, Schalliol says those former project will be finishing up for potential new project to come in.

“So as we’re completing our projects, those projects could be ready for development,” said Schalliol.

And neighbors like Sebasty say they’re glad to see land being put to good use, like for those working at the power plant, and they’d like to see more of it.

“A Toyota plant here would be good for at least 100 years. And that’s not just a little project. It’ll be quite effective in our community,” said Sebasty.

The President of the New Carlisle Town Council Ken Carter says something like this could be great for that area and bring in new jobs and homes for workers if it were to happen there.

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