Some St. Joseph County residents upset with New Carlisle development plan
NEW CARLISLE, Ind. – Some people in St. Joseph County say they’re concerned with the county’s plan to develop 22,000 acres of land in New Carlisle.
The Indiana Enterprise Center is a plan that would bring industrial, residential, and commercial development to the northwest part of the county. The county says by the end of the year, it will present the final draft.
However, a grassroots effort is petitioning against the development.
Open Space & Agriculture Alliance started the online petition earlier this week. It’s made up of people who live in New Carlisle and St. Joseph County and are worried about the loss of farmland and environmental impact. They’re also concerned New Carlisle would no longer become a small town destination.
As of Thursday morning, 53 people signed the petition.
One of the organizers said they’ve felt voiceless at public meetings about the project. He said the group wants the county to be more open to public opinion and consider alternatives that prioritize sustainable development and the protection of farmland and natural areas.
“All of that is threatened by this,” said organizer Christopher Cobb. “It seems like it would be a great loss to the county as a whole, to the residents that are there now, to the town of New Carlise.”
One of the people who signed the petition is Randall Clark. Clark was born and raised in New Carlisle. He owns an art gallery in town.
Clark signed the petition because he doesn’t believe this is a sustainable project. He’s worried about how this project will impact the air, water, and land in the area for future generations.
“I would like to have them think about sustainability and the future,” said Clark. “Not their future, not even maybe their children, but their children’s children, children’s children future. I would wish everyone could see a sustainable future that’s going to preserve the best of what we have.”
Bill Schalliol, the executive director of economic development in St. Joseph County, says the county is listening. He says residents should contact him and his team if they feel frustrated.
He adds there’s been some misinformation.
He says the people behind the project take the environmental and cultural impacts seriously. Schalliol says they live in the area too, and want what’s best for the community.
Additionally, just because they’ve outlined a 22,000 acre area, Schalliol says most of the development will focus on an area between U.S. 20 and State Road 2, which is about 6,000 acres of land.
“This core development area is where utilities are, this core development area is where the businesses are, this core development area is where… we have conditions and property owners,” said Schalliol. “This is again, really our focus area for development for the next several years.”