NEW CARLISLE — St. Joseph County commissioners voted 2-1 on Wednesday to approve the nearly $1 million purchase of 90 acres in this area, where the county hopes to soon attract big companies and create hundreds of jobs.
But the vote to buy the property from Inland Steel Co., which drew a “no” from County Commissioner Dave Thomas, has raised questions about whether the strategy for developing the area is in the best interest of farmers.
The purchase is part of the county’s long-term vision for developing more than 20,000 acres into an industrial park - the Indiana Enterprise Center - to the east of New Carlisle in Olive Township.
Plans call for buying land needed to relocate the Niespodziany Ditch to the west — making room for development — and extending railroad tracks south from the Northfolk-Southern Railroad to reach the area.
To attract businesses, the goal is to have option-to-buy agreements in place this year for 2,500 to 3,000 acres of land situated between Indiana 2 and U.S. 20.
At Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners agreed to buy an 82-acre property at the southwest corner of Edison and Walnut roads from Inland Steel, along with a narrow strip of land on the north side of Edison. That strip will broaden a section of Edison’s right of way so the road could be widened in the future.