Kosciusko Redevelopment Commission could form U.S. 30 Committee

(Carli Luca / News Now Warsaw)

Kosciusko County Redevelopment Commission President Bruce Woodward suggested the panel form a committee to present an opinion and/or plan to assist the U.S. 30 coalition with plans for a new highway around Warsaw.

The coalition has representatives from seven counties who are working toward reconfiguring U.S. 30 as a limited access highway between Merrillville and Fort Wayne.

Locally, officials are gathering information but no proposals have been made regarding the path through Warsaw and Kosciusko County.

Similar efforts are going on in the other six counties involved. The project  has been compared to changes made on U.S. 31 between South Bend and Indianapolis several years ago.

Woodward said he favors a southerly route around Warsaw, where there are greater opportunities for economic and housing development.

“This is an opportunity for our community to plan ahead and determine what this community is going to look like in 30 to 40 years,” he said. “There are a lot of factors involved in this.”

In other business, Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation president George Robertson presented several articles on workforce development, and how its changed over the years.

He said the county is making the adjustments necessary in the current economy, including shortening the time it takes to train high-skilled workers. Housing continues to be an issue on a regional level, and Robertson said that is, in part, from millennials deciding to return to their roots after living in big cities for a period of time.

Robertson suggested it would be a good idea to have a housing development director in the county. Currently there are none in Indiana, which would give Kosciusko County a leg up in competing for workers.

“We need to look at where we’re going and how we’re going to get there,” Robertson said. ”More cities and towns and counties are adopting incentives for people to move there than for businesses to move there.”

Jim Moyer updated the commission on an ongoing drainage project at Louis-Dreyfus Commodities in Claypool. He said that the project is lagging, and there is a sense of urgency as well as a desire to do the project right the first time. There is no deadline for completion of the project.

County auditor Michelle Puckett, serving as treasurer for the redevelopment commission, advised the commission of a change in reporting on tax increment financing districts. Effective July 1, the report will need to have information about each TIF. Secretary Joni Truex volunteered to compile the information before the commission’s next meeting in September.