Image fromÂ www.mapquest.com
A project announced at the end of August, 2007, is beginning to come together according to Greg Leatherman, Redevelopment Executive Director. Â Transpoint LLC,Â plans to develop an approximately 300 acre intermodal ramp and logistics park in Fort Wayne,Â Â located at the northeast corner of Adams Center and Paulding Roads.
Leatherman reported that a significant amount of progress has been made in a couple of areas. Â The biggest of these areas is the securing of a reliable rail path from Chicago to Fort Wayne. Â The rail line that runs through this area is the former Pennsylvania Railroad lines which became Conrail and most recently Rail America. Â This line runs through Fort Wayne to Chicago on the west and all the way to Pittsburgh, via Lima, on the east end.
The securing and reliability of a rail path into Chicago virtually assures that one of the hindrances to bringing rail passenger service back to Fort Wayne and Lima, Ohio has been removed. Â A recent Rally for Passenger Rail sponsored by the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association brought almost a thousand people in support to the Baker Street Train Station. Â It was only a few years ago that rumors abounded amongst local rail fans about the removal of rail connections on the Chicago end of this line. Â In fact, I think a few “diamonds” or crossings Â in the northwest area of Indiana were removed at one point. Â If this intermodal facility is realized, it will mean a daily stream of trains travelling between Chicago and Fort Wayne. Â This easy availability of a rail connection means truck companies will no longer have to pick up containers in Chicago and haul them to Fort Wayne and vice-versa. Â It will also alleviate some of the congestion in Chicago at the existing container facilities. Â
Greg mentioned several bigger picture problems which may be addressed by this facility as well. Â The Panama Canal is currently undergoing work to enable it to accommodate the super-size container ships now being built. Â On the east coast, many tunnels are still being widened to accommodate double stack traffic. Â This lack of capacity translates into congestion on the limited number of routes that can carry existing traffic. A National Rail Gateway project is underway that will also add infrastructure to address congestion issues. Â Congestion at the western ports also presents problems. Â At Chicago, the Canadian NationalÂ Railways (CN)Â connects and would be able to divert containers to the Prince Rupert Harbour in BC Canada.
All in all, this is a very good thing economically for not only Fort Wayne, but the region as well.
The reason this was brought before the Redevelopment Commission is Transpoint is seeking a change in the zoning of the property from IN2 to IN3. Â Only lots 1 and 2, or approximately 50 acres are currently being asked for rezoning. Â In not rezoning all of the property in question at this point, some control is retained by the City over what uses could be experienced on the project. Â The main difference between IN2 and IN3 in regards to this request is that IN3 allows for the storage of containers outside.
I might mention this land came to Redevelopment as a donation from the now defunct Chem Waste when they closed down the Adams Center Landfill. Â The price has already been established at around $2,000 per acre.
Commissioner Judi Wire expressed concerns about possible hazardous materials carried in the containers leaking and causing environmental damage to some wetlands that are in close proximity. Â Redevelopment Attorney John Wernet responded that there are already covenants in place regarding restrictions on hazardous materials and these would remain in force regardless of a sale of the property.
For other notes on the Redevelopment Commission meeting, see this post.