From Indiana’s News Center, by reporter Jeff Neumeyer, posted June 2, 2008:

City Officials Still Hoperful in OmniSource Land Negotiations

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s administration remains hopeful a deal can be worked out for the city to acquire the abandoned OmniSource land near downtown.

A June 30th deadline is fast approaching for a deal to be finalized.

But the city’s director of community development says if the other side agrees, negotiations could continue a short time beyond that date.

Though the OmniSource property is vacant and would require extensive clean-up of old industrial contamination, it is still a prized piece of land from the city’s perspective.

A task force recently identified it as a place that could host a major attraction near downtown, labeled the “North River” development.

The city has an option to buy the land for 4.3 million dollars, but it appears unlikely the city is willing to pay that much now.

Director John Urbahns/Community Development: ” We’re having a number of discussions with the property owners and um, as I say, when we’re trying to figure out how we can get it done, the city is obviously in a different financial situation than it was a year ago, and we need to look at all options that are out there.”

The different financial situation Urbahns mentioned relates to less money coming in because of property tax reform in Indiana, so if the city is going to obtain the property it’s going to have to be at a lower price.

That’s especially true if major clean-up costs will have to be paid.

The city won’t disclose results of environmental testing, so we don’t know what the costs would be.

But it’s safe to say, that is something the city will take into account before signing on the dotted line.

We asked Urbahns if the North River project could be home to riverboat gambling.

He said that is not part of the primary vision, but it also can’t be ruled out, if the city gets its hands on the land.

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