People unsure of city's plan to buy North River

The property was used as a rail yard and metals recycling facility for more than 100 years.

Posted: Nov 19, 2017 10:30 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2017 10:53 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Fort Wayne's city council will discuss buying the North River property during this week's meeting.

The city is hoping to buy the former OmniSource site at the corner of Clinton and Fourth Streets, right across from Science Central.

The property was used as a rail yard and metals recycling facility for more than 100 years.

As part of the agreement city officials signed July 27, the current owners, Calhoun Investments LLC, wouldn't be responsible for any environmental clean up for the site.

Fort Wayne Community Development Director Greg Leatherman said the property isn't as contaminated as people may think.

However, people don't think tax payers should pay to clean up the mess.

"It's something I don't feel citizens should be responsible for as for as tax money goes," said Audum North.

Council members said there's too many unknowns about the purchase agreement, including how much environmental clean up will cost if OmniSource is off the hook.

Councilman Russ Jehl said council should've known something about the agreement when it was signed July 27.

"It's very unusual for executives to leave the board in the dark until just a couple weeks before a large purchase agreement is supposed to close," said Jehl.

Leatherman said soil and ground water tests were done 10 years ago.

He said he couldn't release details because of a confidentiality agreement, but he said the tests showed contamination was only in the top layer, about a foot deep.

Leatherman said there was more clean up needed 20 years ago where Headwaters Park is now than what the North River property needs.

"We've cleaned them all up successfully with the help of IDEM and Brownfield Apartments. I can say without a doubt this is less contaminated site," said Leatherman.

That still doesn't sit well with councilman Michael Barranda, an attorney who practices insurance law.

He said he wants the agreement to include the possibility of going after insurance claims to pay for the clean up.

"If there is insurance in place, it belongs to the seller. If the seller is being fully indemnified then the insurance company would have reason to say 'No, we're not going to give you any insurance proceeds because you have no liability,'" said Barranda.

Leatherman said the agreement will still allow them to go after those claims.

However, until taxpayers, like North, know how much it will cost, they're not on board.

"Without having that information, and asking the city to write a blank check, doesn't seem quite right to me," said North.

City council will discuss buying the property during its next meeting 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 21 in Citizens Square.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 312521

Reported Deaths: 5498
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion42641849
Lake27152455
Allen18010298
Elkhart17177221
St. Joseph16799229
Hamilton13011167
Vanderburgh9751120
Tippecanoe858727
Porter827986
Johnson6389165
Hendricks6098157
Vigo608384
Monroe536750
Clark515077
Madison5060122
Delaware4905103
LaPorte465595
Kosciusko462339
Howard344277
Warrick325672
Bartholomew316863
Floyd316277
Wayne307770
Cass299931
Marshall299144
Grant272550
Noble255046
Hancock253852
Henry247537
Boone244554
Dubois237931
Dearborn219030
Jackson215534
Morgan210843
Knox187819
Gibson186925
Shelby182155
Clinton180321
DeKalb177831
Lawrence177648
Adams168222
Miami162614
Wabash162521
Daviess156443
Fayette149234
Steuben147113
Jasper144412
Harrison142924
LaGrange142630
Montgomery142127
Whitley137114
Ripley132115
Huntington127410
Decatur126143
Putnam124627
Randolph124519
Wells124429
White123222
Clay122523
Posey122116
Jefferson118816
Scott109020
Greene102653
Jay99013
Sullivan96416
Starke92021
Jennings85314
Fulton84518
Spencer8378
Perry82521
Fountain7798
Washington7527
Franklin69927
Carroll68613
Orange67328
Vermillion6243
Owen6087
Tipton57627
Parke5706
Newton56312
Rush5438
Blackford53412
Pike50919
Pulaski39515
Martin3585
Brown3424
Benton3402
Crawford2941
Union2702
Switzerland2575
Warren2382
Ohio2317
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 42°
Angola
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Decatur
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 44°
Van Wert
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 44°
Mostly Cloudy Black Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events