MANHATTAN – Community members opposed to the development of Compass Business Park organized an informational meeting at Wilson Creek Elementary School in Manhattan on Saturday detailing all the components of the complex project.
The purpose of the meeting was to share the information they’d dug up on Compass Business Park through FOIA requests and attending meetings and to explain why they adamantly oppose the project. They formed a group called “Just Say No To NorthPoint.”
“(The purpose of the meeting was) to get people, all of you in the community, involved,” Stephanie Irvine, one of the organizers of the meeting and Jackson Township resident, said to the attendees. “Because this is not over and it’s not a done deal.”
NorthPoint Development said in the past that it is working on the part of the project that’s planned in Elwood right now, but eventually a similar process would have to take place in Manhattan. Community members who live in Elwood, Manhattan and unincorporated parts of the community have gone to work organizing against the project.
Christina Sammet, a Jackson Township resident and member of the group, gave a comprehensive presentation of the major details and timeline of events regarding the development of Compass Business Park.
She also spoke to what the group’s strategy was going forward, especially since the Elwood Planning and Zoning Commission made a recommendation to its village board to rezone land for the industrial park in January.
Sammet, Irvine and fellow organizer Delilah Legrett also fielded questions from some of the dozens of locals in attendance. One Manhattan resident said she found the information very helpful and has inspired her to take action and try to talk to her local officials about her concerns and sign a petition against the project.
“I give them a lot of credit,” said Nellie Shelton. “They’re taking their time with other people in the communities.”
Shelton added that she’s willing to get her neighbors to sign the petition. She, like so many in both Manhattan and Elwood, is concerned about the increase in truck and commuter traffic, which she said has already gotten worse in the 13 years she’s lived there.
“We need to try to stop it and keep it out of here,” said Shelton. “And I think we have a strong enough community.”