Granger residents critical of proposed county highway garage

Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 12:34 AM EDT
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GRANGER, Ind. (WNDU) - County officials held a public meeting to discuss the proposed highway maintenance garage and adjacent county park at Anderson and Beech roads in Granger.

Taking place at the Granger Missionary Church, hundreds of Granger residents were in attendance to express their disapproval of this proposed highway maintenance garage.

“Who would think putting a park next to a highway garage or a highway garage next to a park is a good idea,” asked Granger resident Denny McIntyre. “It does not make sense, let alone put it in the furthest northeast part of the township in the county that you can go.”

St. Joseph County Engineer Sky Medors spoke on the county’s findings, conveying concerns over efficiency and a need for a satellite garage in the northeast section of the county.

This northeast section has the county’s most lane miles, taking the most hours for snowplows to clear roads.

“I’d like to see a park built without a highway garage,” McIntyre said. Granted, do we need a new highway garage? Probably. There’s no reason why they can’t recycle Cleveland Road. If they decide not to do that, which it looks like they have, well then, they need to find a different site in an industrial area. In today’s social environment that we live in, with all the subdivisions in here, it needs to be in an industrial park.”

This is the second meeting of its kind in a month and a half. As WNDU previously reported, public frustration over this proposal is centered around the risk of groundwater contamination. While the proposed garage would have fail-safes in place to protect against this, environmentalist John Sill says that it might not be enough.

“And contamination, I mean, I traveled the country doing this, cleaning up these sites for years, for 30+ years,” says Granger resident John Sill. “You know, a failsafe doesn’t always work, and you see it all the time. I know this is a ludicrous comment to make, but the Titanic was never supposed to sink, but it did on its first (voyage).”

The County Commissioners signed the memorandum of understanding in November with little public knowledge of this plan. Since then, it’s been sent to the parks board, who can either approve the MOU and have the highway garage and the park built or reject it and potentially lose funding for the park.

“Everybody says no, we don’t want this,” Sill said. “If we have to have a garage with a park, then we don’t want a park. That’s all there is to it.”

During the public forum, one Granger resident asked St. Joseph County Councilmember Daniel J. Schaetzle (R) why he had been repeatedly turned down for a building permit by the county.

Schaetzle responded that the blame lies with the previous council, specifically, blaming Democrats for the result. This was followed by discernible boos from the residents.

“The county has not proven to be an (excellent neighbor),” Sill said. “And I don’t really care for what Councilman Dan is saying, that it was a prior administration. Well, you know what? There are a lot of “prior administrators” on his council right now and in the Commissioner’s (office). So, you’re going to throw those people under the bus?”

The next St. Joseph County Parks Board meeting to discuss the proposed maintenance garage is Tuesday, May 16, at 9 a.m. at the Moat Room at Baugo Station.