The Journal Gazette
Sunday, June 23, 2019 1:00 am

New Haven sports small-town, neighborly feel

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

You might have to sit in your car while a train rumbles across the road into New Haven, but the people there think it is worth the wait.

The community east of Fort Wayne is the sort of place where you stop your car in the middle of a side street to talk to a friend driving the opposite direction, you can walk to the park with children and new businesses are popping up to fill empty storefronts along the main drag.

Longtime resident Michelle DeCamp was raised in the city and is a teacher at New Haven High School.

She says New Haven has a small town feel with lots of community spirit.

“We know a lot of people and everybody knows each other,” DeCamp says.

“And we look out for each other.”

Standing on Broadway Street, she points out several restaurants such as Rack and Helen's Bar and Grill. Just up the street are other businesses including Peter Franklin Jewelers, New Haven Bicycles and Ruhl Furniture & Flooring. The side of the latter features murals by Kim Linker marking the city's 2016 sesquicentennial.

Schnelker Park stands at the south end of Broadway Street. Its entrance is marked with a memorial to the community's veterans. There is a pavilion and band stage on one side and a large playground on the other.

On a warm day this spring, the playground is full of children. Donna Hackley watches several youngsters in her family play as she explains that she first moved to New Haven in 2006. She left for a while but came back because she loves the city.

“People are nice to me,” she says. Members of the community help each other out, and Hackley points to the several food banks in the area as evidence.

Hackley says there are a number of trails and places to walk, which is also nice. Schnelker is one of several parks, trails and nature areas in New Haven. Another, Moser Park, connects to the Rivergreenway and has a baseball diamond and basketball court along with a nature center and pond for fishing.

Among the businesses in New Haven is MarketHouse, a paper goods store complete with a letter press for custom orders. Owner Angela Thompson previously operated in another small town in the area and opened in October in New Haven, just north of Schnelker.

She says everyone in New Haven has been supportive, and it is refreshing to be in a place where the residents care about new businesses that come in.

“I love New Haven,” says Thompson, who lives in Fort Wayne. “It's a small town of great people, is what I've realized.”

About New Haven

Population: 15,895 (2017 census estimate)

County: Allen

Founded: Incorporated as a town in 1866 and as a city in 1963

• New Haven Parks and Recreation operates a number of parks including Canal Landing and Moser and Schnelker Park. Residents and visitors can also visit the North River Road Nature Area and Deetz Nature Preserve.

• There are several trails in the city, including access to the Rivergreenway.

• Jury Pool offers a chance to take a dip in the summer months.

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