ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE)— A little over a dozen people met at the New Haven Community Center Monday night to talk about their opposition to a proposed data center in southeast Allen County.
The current plan for the 722-acre data center campus was announced in October. The site proposed is bound by Adams Center Rd. to the west, E. Tillman Rd. to the south, and the Chicago, Fort Wayne, & Eastern Railroad to the northeast. It is not yet known what company will be operating the data center, though an application sent to the Fort Wayne and Allen County Commissioners by the developer says it is a Fortune 100 company “that operates data center campuses globally.”
The meeting in New Haven came just days before a public hearing will take place on the matter. Some of the attendees were concerned neighbors, but others would be directly impacted by this development.
According to Christine Smith, her property, which has been in her family for more than 100 years, would be directly affected. That property sits on the corner of Adams Center Rd. and E. Tillman Rd.
“Now that the news is out about this, my property is worthless,” Smith said. “My dad built that house. [My parents] had picnics out there before they got married while they were building the house. You know, we have a big legacy there.”
There will be more than just emotional effects for neighbors to the site.
According to resident Chuck Itt, he is in favor of any project that benefits the city and the county. But, his home sits about 10 feet away from the property line with the more than 700-acre proposed site, and he feels trapped. He would like the option to be bought out.
“So on three sides, it’s now going to be the [project],” Itt said. “And we’ll never be able to recoup our investment. Only living here five years, I’ve got a big mortgage.”
Itt and his neighbors would like to see changes to the proposed plan. Alison Adams does not live immediately next to the proposed site but is spearheading a presentation to be made to the city and county commissioners.
“I know the dream would be for the whole thing to disappear like a bad dream,” Adams said. “But if that’s not going to happen, what can we do that’s constructive to give them a voice, which I think they should have in the future of their area.”
Adams’ three main points to bring up at the hearing will be unanswered questions the group has about the size, content and environmental impact of the project; a better-landscaped barrier between the homes and the data center; and changes to the current plan that takes into account privacy of nearby homeowners and wildlife.
The joint public hearing with the Fort Wayne and Allen County plan commissioners will be on Thursday, November 9 at Citizens Square at 1 p.m.