Discussions about the future use of Casad Depot of New Haven moved forward with an infusion of funding.
The Allen County Capital Improvement Board agreed to pay half of the cost of acquiring the property from the federal government. The cost to buy the 258-acre property is estimated at $1.5 million, of which the board would contribute $750,000.
In an article in the New Haven Chamber of Commerce E-News, Mayor Terry McDonald stated that there has already been interest in part of the site for industrial use. In addressing the CIB, he said the city would like to develop the land as an industrial park. Part of the property is already within the city limits. If the purchase is completed, New Haven would annex the remainder into the city.
The property was developed during World War II for storage of metallurgical ores and materials necessary for manufacturing defense and/or strategic materials. It is located on Dawkins Road (formerly Indiana 14) about 2.3 miles east of Interstate 469. The removal of strategic materials was completed in October 2011 with the shipment of 614 tons of mercury to a site in Nevada.
City Councilman Steve McMichael, who has been representing the city at the CIB meetings, said “the property, which is among the last available land around, is prime for development. The railroad tracks that already exist there and the easy access to the Norfolk & Southern main line that borders the property’s southern edge makes it very attractive. Though things are just in the preliminary phase, this is a great opportunity for both New Haven and the county. We hope to have an offer in hand later this year.”
Brian Yoh, New Haven Planning & Economic Development director, recently made a due diligence tour of the property and found that the World War II buildings are in disrepair after sitting vacant for decades. “For the property to be useful for today’s industries, the buildings would have to be torn down,” he reported.
Casad Depot was operated by the Defense National Stockpile Center of the Defense Logistics Agency. The agency is in the process of closing its depots across the country and is seeking to terminate its U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission license. It has done a historical site assessment to address buildings and areas at the Depot where NRC-licensed radioactive materials were handled or stored. The decommissioning process included several surveys and it was determined that the property can be released for unrestricted use.
Environmental figure Abigail King said purchase of the Casad property and its use for industrial development will be good for New Haven as long as the government soil tests prove that the site is clean and there is no dangerous residue left. King is the founder of the Save Maumee Grassroots Organization, whose members remove trash from the banks of the Maumee River and its tributaries and plant trees and grasses to help prevent erosion.