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New Haven eager for development

– New Haven City Council members are excited about new commercial development planned near Minnich Road and Indiana 930.

Councilman Ron Steinman, R-at large, said Tuesday that plans for a 177,000-square-foot distribution center and other commercial buildings are moving forward. Steinman is also a member of the New Haven Plan Commission.

A Wisconsin developer, RDC National, will go before the plan commission in December to ask for rezoning of a portion of the 65-acre site from general commercial to light industrial.

The property was eyed five years ago as a potential site for a Flying J travel plaza, but the city rejected that proposal. Last week, Pilot Flying J opened a new truck plaza off Interstate 469 and U.S. 30 in New Haven.

Although details on the development plan and commercial tenants are sketchy, Steinman said there was talk of a major restaurant or hotel occupying some of the space.

Mayor Terry McDonald said he could not give specifics but confirmed the development of the distribution center.

“We also received good news today that the entire area surrounding the development site will be landscaped and bermed,” he said. Landscaping berms consist of a mound or bank of earth used as a barrier or as insulation.

Employee health

Council members agreed to an 18-month contract with Physicians Health Plan to provide health and dental plans for 91 full-time employees.

The contract comes with a 2 percent increase, which amounts to about $30,000 more, Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Adams said.

A second option was a 12-month contract with no increase.

The 18-month contract would be much easier to work with for budgeting purposes, especially with the many health insurance changes still in the works, McDonald said

“The 2 percent increase is still well below trending levels,” McDonald said.

The city pays just over $1 million a year for employee health and dental care programs, Adams said.

Three years ago, the city switched most of its employees from a traditional deductible and co-pay plan to a health savings flexible program.

A flexible spending plan allows employees to set aside a portion of earnings to pay for medical expenses.

Although about 3 percent to 5 percent of the employees still use the traditional plan, they pay the difference between that plan and the less expensive health savings plan, Adams said.