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If you go
What: Public hearing on proposed annexation
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: City Hall Council Chambers, 3rd floor, 300 Cherry St., Huntington. For complete details and maps of the proposed annexation areas, go to www.huntington.in.us, click on the Mayor’s page and then click on the Annexation Plan on the bottom right-hand side of the page

Huntington to host hearing on annexation

Officials expect deep opposition, crowded meeting

A public hearing is expected to be packed Tuesday in Huntington as city officials move forward with a proposed five-part annexation that would add 3,000 acres to the city’s corporate limits.

Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters introduced the plan to City Council in March. Councilman Greg Davis, R-at large, said his phone has rung constantly since that time.

“I have received numerous calls and not one person has spoken in favor of it,” Davis said.

Huntington Township Trustee Tim Guy echoed those sentiments.

“People who live in the city and outside the city do not like this,” Guy said. “The meeting will be well-attended and overflowing.”

The plan breaks the annexation into five phases, with the first to be completed by late October and the fifth parcel to be annexed in 2021.

Tuesday’s hearing will address Area 1, composed of 808 acres northeast of the city that houses Parkview Huntington Hospital, Crestview Middle School, Flint Springs Elementary School, Heritage of Huntington, Hillside Estates and Hidden Hamlets.

Before the plan was proposed, Davis – one of seven council members – suggested seeking public opinion before proceeding. That was not done and the majority of people are not for it, he said.

“I was not so sure that forcing an annexation was a good idea,” Davis said. “My vote will be no.”

At least one of Davis’ peers, Councilman Jim Long, D-3rd, feels the same way but will not be able to vote because of a health crisis.

His son, Dave Long, said his dad was “totally opposed to the annexation, but may not live long enough to vote against it.”

Councilman Jack Slusser, R-at large, said he is neither for nor against it.

“I’m right in the middle,” he said.

“Not everyone knows all that is involved, and hopefully they can get that information and voice their opinion at the meeting,” Slusser said. “To move forward, we must expand and grow. I will do what I think is best for the city and county as a whole.”

Guy thinks annexation would be bad for the city and the county.

Indiana is one of only two states, including Idaho, that allow involuntary annexation, Guy said.

“This plan would take away from the county, the library, the schools and the township,” he said. “It’s just not fair.”

The city’s population has remained stagnant at around 16,000 for decades and growth cannot be used as a factor, Guy said. In 2010, the census counted 17,391 in Huntington.

A Facebook page – www.facebook.com/HuntingtonAnnexation – was created April 21 and hundreds in the community have posted comments or “liked” the page.

Fetters was out of state and unavailable to comment on this story.

vsade@jg.net

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