FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne City Council held a special meeting Thursday regarding a proposal by the City of Fort Wayne to annex over 700 acres of land in Allen County.
The land annexed in total would be 728 acres. The land needed for a proposed data center campus would be 892 acres, which leaves over 700 acres of Allen County land that would need to be annexed.
City officials said a Fortune 100 technology company is trying to develop a data center campus at the proposed site near the intersection of East Tillman and Adams Center roads.
At Thursday’s meeting, the public was allowed to give their opinion for two minutes. Only two community members spoke. Both were against the annexation proposal.
Alison Adams, a New Haven Resident, said she went to a meeting held in New Haven Wednesday where many residents voiced their opposition to the annexation. Adams said she still has concerns and would like to know more information.
“I think if people could be assured that there wasn’t going to be traffic, that it would, you know, be a light traffic situation, and that there would be no noticeable noise, no noticeable light and they could basically live their lives as they could and that it wasn’t going to put their property values down, they will be less upset,” Adams said, “But at the moment they’re pretty darn upset.”
6th District Councilwoman Sharon Tucker said she understands the concern of residents but wants them to know that she is asking all of the hard questions when in the meetings.
“What’s the environmental impact? What’s the runoff? What’s the hype? What’s the lighting? What’s the security? What’s the impact on community? What’s the positives? How many jobs will be created? What will be the median wage of a job offer? Will you be bringing in your own staff? How will you raise up people to be able to work in this place so that we can have people that’s from the district be prepared to take on this opportunity?” Tucker said.
The name of the company isn’t being released to ensure fairness, as the cost of business would go up if the name were out to the public.
“It makes it really tough for the community to be able to rally behind it the way that others are when they’re out of knowing who the company is. And I would submit sometimes we have to remove the who and deal with the what, and the what in this time is what are the factors that will come to the community?” Tucker said.
5th District Councilman Geoff Paddock said from what he knows so far, he believes the positive impact of the proposed data center campus would out way any negative.
“When a company comes into your area, and you can put it into the city limits, that tax revenue goes largely to the city so this is the potential for a really big boost not only for the city but for the southeast portion of Fort Wayne, and this would be in district six,” Paddock said. “And while we don’t know a lot about what is coming forward, I think that will unfold later, there are certain steps that have to be taken.”
The city council is expected to vote on the annexation at the next special meeting on Nov. 9.