New Haven, Indiana
a city on the rise
With a slew of infrastructure projects in the pipeline, New Haven is on an upward trajectory
New Haven, Indiana is located in Allen County in the far northeast corner of the Hoosier State, on the southern bank of the Maumee River. The small city, which was incorporated in 1963, was originally platted in 1839 by Henry Burgess. Always somewhat of a transportation hub, for a few decades in the mid-1800s New Haven was on the route of the Wabash and Erie Canal, a 460-mile shipping lane that linked the Great Lakes to the Ohio River. In the late 1800s, the town was served by the Wabash and Nickel Plate Railroads. Today, the Norfolk Southern Railway runs through the middle of the city, as does a stretch of the famous Lincoln Highway, one of the earliest transcontinental automobile routes, which first opened in 1913.
New Haven is surrounded by an abundance of fertile soil, making agriculture one of its largest economic assets — Central States Grain, a large soybean and grain processor, has its operational headquarters in New Haven. The city is also home to several manufacturing companies, chief among them is a branch of O’Neal Steel, the nation’s sixth largest steel supplier, as well as home-grown, Continental Diamond Tool, which specializes in advanced manufacturing. There are also several firms with international owners that have experienced significant growth the last several year. Sanko Gosei Technologies USA is a Japanese-owned company that manufactures molded plastic parts for medical equipment; SDI La Farga Copperworks produces copper rod and wire and is Spanish-owned; Multimatic New Haven, a Canadian firm, makes race track-approved suspensions for commercial vehicle use; and Trelleborg, a world leader in engineered polymer solutions, is Swedish.
These days, New Haven is a city on the rise. In 2006, Allen County became part of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, a public/private partnership that works with 11 northeast counties to attract and compete for new business investments by stressing the region’s global competitiveness and economic resiliency. The city also works closely with Greater Fort Wayne (GFW), the chamber of commerce and economic development organization for Fort Wayne and Allen County, which has been active in helping to grow a more prosperous, vibrant community in the greater Fort Wayne area for years.
First-term mayor of New Haven, Steven McMichael, is all on board with the plan to grow his city of just over 16,000 attracting all types of new investments. His philosophy of government includes “either helping or getting out of the way by removing burdensome regulatory rules that hinder development. “Beyond that,” he continues, “is our partnerships with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Greater Fort Wayne, as well as local developers, which has been key. So, it’s about partnerships; we’re not doing this alone. Between our internal team, which we’ve been able to build here in the city – they’re tops in their fields – and our relationships, we have an open door with developers.”
McMichael elaborates on the city’s proactive development ethos. “In our administration, it’s ‘let’s get to the yes.’ What I mean by that – is a developer or somebody looking to invest in our community may have a goal in mind of something they want to do and how to get to it. Well, we’ve got enough smart people around the table, and we can figure out how to achieve the objectives of the developer or the investor while maintaining the sustainability of the community.”
McMichael also understands that when a new business is looking to locate or expand, the city must provide baseline legacy utilities, good roads, and of equal importance, adequate housing for the area’s growing workforce.
Stephane Frijia, President of the Northeast Regional Partnership agrees. “Employers want to know that their investment is coupled and balanced by local investments in jobs and housing and that people don’t have to travel 45 minutes away just to find a place to live and then go to work,” he explains. “Housing is crucial for the ability to effectively market a region; having localized housing provides a pathway to a balanced community.”
Frijia notes that in 2019, the Northeast Partnership identified a housing need of about 16,000 new units across the 11-county area over a period of the next five years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and everything shut down. Now he says that the demand for housing is as acute as it’s ever been.
“We need to address that head-on because without adequate numbers of housing units, our population goals are going to fall short,” he exclaims. “We need rooftops. The mayor is spearheading that in the community of New Haven, and we see that as part of the solution of how we get to closing this need.”
Just in time to satisfy that need for expanded housing opportunities comes the new Crossroads project – a mixed-use development for new apartments, businesses, and more to be built on an empty 17.68 acre property off State Road 930, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. The project, which has been on the drawing board for nearly two years, will provide 135 townhome units with room for retail, a restaurant, coworking office space, a dog park, and public access to a nearby Community Center. It has already broken ground and should be completed within 28-32 months, depending on the weather, according to Brian Snyder – President of Crossroads New Haven Multifamily LLC, the project’s developer. “It will have a major impact on the community,” he states.
“Crossroads represents the kind of development that will make New Haven a destination city to invest in,” adds McMichael. “When completed, this multi-use development will inject millions of dollars of investment into the revitalization of State Road 930 and New Haven. This corridor is the impression of what a lot of people have of New Haven. They don’t get beyond this to the beautiful neighborhoods we have, the beautiful homes we have. Their impression is based solely upon this US-30, SR-930 corridor,” he explains. “The more attractive we can make this, the more investment we can get on this, the better chance we have of leaving a favorable impression about what a great community we are. So, we’re looking at adding trails, and bike paths, and things like that along that corridor, as well.”
McMichael also reports that New Haven just completed another new road project – one that connects the heart of the city to its northern part over the Maumee River. “It’s a beautiful new corridor leading into our historic downtown,” he says. “On top of that, we have several waterline extensions and sewer extensions, particularly for industrial areas. So those things are key. You can’t grow without those baseline legacy utilities.”
Regarding downtown, McMichael is somewhat reluctant to reveal plans for a major downtown redevelopment agenda. “We’re not ready to discuss that publicly,” he says, “so I can’t comment on that. But we just celebrated the 100th anniversary of Schnelker Park, our signature downtown park, which has been the gathering place for New Haven for the past 100 years. That’s where our festivals are. And we’re looking at ways that we can extend the feel of the park to our downtown.
“Also, we’re working to become a Main Street Association. We’ve created a group called Activate New Haven, which, hopefully, will be our Main Street Association, as we work with the New Haven Chamber of Commerce under its new leadership and other business owners to continue to grow and maintain a sustainable downtown,” McMichael elaborates.
Other similar projects are also on the drawing board, but McMichael isn’t ready yet to disclose those particulars quite yet. “We’re a couple of months away from a major announcement of a major development that will incorporate youth sports in the community, as well as a large and impactful investment that will turn New Haven into a destination for families,” he states.
“We’re also doing a hotel and retail study. So, New Haven is alive. We are doing well, and we can and will do better. This is a great community, not just for us, but for our children and our grandchildren, as well,” McMichael adds.
With such impressive projects in the pipeline and the plan to see them through to completion, New Haven has truly proven to be a city on the rise.
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AT A GLANCE
New Haven, Indiana
What: Vibrant town with an impressive commercial and residential development focus
Where: Allen County, New Haven, Indiana
SDI LaFarga COPPERWORKS™ – www.copperworks.com
Established in 2011, SDI LaFarga COPPERWORKS is a joint venture between La Farga Group in Spain and Steel Dynamics, one of the largest domestic steel producers and metals recyclers. It is the only company in the U.S. that utilizes state-of-the-art technology to reclaim processed copper, refine it and create new, high-quality copper products. This exclusive process has a low environmental impact.
From its facility in New Haven, Indiana, COPPERWORKS manufactures copper rod, drawn solid wire and can welding wire. Produced in a shaft furnace commissioned in 2020, COPPERWORKS’ Elemental™ Copper Rod and Wire (ETP) is a form of copper rod and wire that meets the high demands required for magnet wire used in the electrical industry. Advantage™ Copper Rod and Wire is an economical product used to make power cables, building wiring and many other electrical wire products. Infinity™ Copper Rod and Wire (FRHC) is suitable for similar applications, is guaranteed to be manufactured with 100% recycled copper and carries an Environmental Product Declaration.
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