Wayne County commissioners heard from Economic Development Corporation President Valerie Shaffer that moving the planned location of a water tower at Gateway Industrial Park by 860 feet could save Cambridge City $200,000.

As a part of the plans in motion for Sugar Creek Packing Company’s $11 million expansion there, officials realized that the tower’s original location would unnecessarily require the expense for Cambridge City to extend water infrastructure to the south and for the town or county to create a gravel access road. By carving out an acre of land at the north end of the 16.7-acre project lot and granting it to Cambridge City, those expenses go away.

“860 feet saves $200,000? Wow!” exclaimed commissioner Mary Anne Butters in response to the news, shared during a Nov. 15 meeting.

Butters and commissioner Jeff Plasterer agreed to support the change, which will involve the county carving the acre out, getting it surveyed, and then eventually granting that to Cambridge City when it’s time to proceed with the new water system that will support the project. Commissioner Brad Dwenger was not present.

In other business, the commissioners:

  • Discussed process and plans for making appointments to the Wayne County Board of Health.
  • Heard from director of facilities and development Steve Higinbotham about the status of various construction and improvement projects, including a planned power service upgrade that will have building power out over the weekend of Nov. 25; emergency services will operate as normal.
  • Reviewed the monthly weights & measures report including that a tank at the Stop ‘n’ Shop at 501 South 5th Street was removed from service because of inaccuracies in measuring gas dispensed.
  • Discussed a notice to bidders for annual fuel, stone gravel, mulch, asphalt and related purchases.
  • Heard from Tim Pierson and Jeff Holthouse about a proposal to use $500,000 in uncommitted ARPA dollars to seed a project called Building Together, which would train people experiencing homelessness to become skilled laborers and restore blighted homes. They hope that after five years the project would be able to restore 10 blighted homes, create 50 new apartments, work with around 40 individuals who are struggling with homelessness and generate rental income to make the project self-sustaining. Commissioners took the project under advisement for further discussion.
  • Discussed discontinuing the contracted use of the Guard911 mobile app designed to assist county employees with active shooter situations; the cost is $3,500 annually but usage of the app has been low and there have been concerns about location sharing privacy.
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A version of this article appeared in the November 22 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Chris Hardie is the owner and publisher of the Western Wayne News.