Mishawaka Council says 'yes' to annexation and tax abatement - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mishawaka Council says 'yes' to annexation and tax abatement

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It was a busy night at the Mishawaka Common Council Monday night, with two important votes on the agenda.

First up was a vote on a tax abatement for WellPet.  The company makes premium dog food in Mishawaka.  Monday night they were asking the City Council for a tax abatement on a 2 million dollar regrinding machine.

The council voted yes 9 to 0.

Now WellPet can move forward and get the machine that they say will really help their productivity.  We spoke to the Plant Controller before the meeting, she told us they need to produce more pet food because of increased demand.  "Such an increase in demand, we have increased our production about 10 percent over the last year.  We know we have demand out there that continues to grow and so we're looking for ways to maximize what we currently have on site," said Michelle Tatgenhorst

Since WellPet can now move forward with their plans for the regrinding Machine, Tatgenhorst said they will immediately start looking for six new employees to hire.  She hopes the first phase of the new equipment will be up and running by May.

And she did mention that as part of this whole process they have met with neighbors to discuss their concerns over noise and odor.  Tatgenhorst said WellPet volunteered to do a study to identify what's causing any odor and it's range.

The council also unanimously voted yes to another resolution Monday night.  The annexation of 45 acres of land across the street from Heritage Square and Toscana Park.

This means a local developer can move forward with a 50 million dollar investment in the area.
Great Lakes Capital plans to turn the lot into a combination of multi-family living, assisted living, offices, retail and restaurant development.

A few residents spoke at the meeting saying they really hope the developer considers turning this new development into a real community space that includes sidewalks and parks.  "A priority is bringing in new businesses but also developments that are a destination and create community in and of themselves and I think you have a real opportunity to do this with the annexed property at Cleveland at Gumwood."  Another resident said, "I'm here mainly to plant a seed and I recognize with this new annexation there's an opportunity to really create something great, something unique in this region."

The developer eying this new project already owns Toscana Park.  The new development shows plans for something bigger than Toscana Park, it's a 45 acre space.

The developer had previously told us they plan to break ground in the Summer.

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