County residents rallied outside the County-City Building Tuesday to ask the St. Joseph County Council for more public input and a slowdown on plans to develop a massive industrial park near New Carlisle. Staff photo by Caleb Bauer
County residents rallied outside the County-City Building Tuesday to ask the St. Joseph County Council for more public input and a slowdown on plans to develop a massive industrial park near New Carlisle. Staff photo by Caleb Bauer
SOUTH BEND — Dozens of county residents rallied outside the County-City Building Tuesday night as a part of ongoing efforts to persuade public officials to rethink plans for an industrial park near New Carlisle.

The rally, organized by the St. Joseph County Open Space and Agricultural Alliance, then shifted to the St. Joseph County Council meeting, where residents implored the council to host public hearings on plans for development near New Carlisle and cut spending on projects related to the industrial complex in the 2020 budget.

The county has proposed an industrial park — the Indiana Enterprise Center — on 22,000 acres of mostly farmland near New Carlisle. So far, the county has approved contracts totaling $3.3 million for studies and planning.

A master plan for the facility hasn’t yet been released, but remains under development. Originally, the plan was expected to be finished in summer 2018.

The project has drawn scrutiny and ire from New Carlisle residents, farmers, environmentalists and others who say it is an unnecessary and destructive development not in line with the interest of county residents.

Earlier this year, a map acquired through a public records request laid out the land acquisition plans for the county, including parcels planned for acquisition, unbeknownst to some property owners.
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