Life's Better Here: New Haven 2012

By Maureen Mespell
By Eric Olson
By Jason Meyers

July 23, 2012 Updated Dec 12, 2012 at 6:42 PM EDT

New Haven, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- The nearly completed Maplecrest Extension on New Haven's west side, the new transportation corridor soon to open, will soon alter New Haven traffic patterns forever.

Transportation created New Haven when it was born as a stopping off point for travelers along the Wabash and Erie Canal. Then the railroad pushed through, at one point 16 passenger trains a day stopped in town and every one of them stopped at the New Haven Train Depot built in 1887.

Community Volunteer Alison Adams says, "And from then to it served the town for freight and passenger through two world wars."

The depot closed fifty years ago and sat, vacant but not forgotten, until last year when volunteers launched a restoration effort. The New Haven Depot today has been rebuilt, restored, reborn appearing as it did 130 years ago.

Adams says, "I think it's very important for New Haven to take pride in its individuality."

Adams was part of the restoration effort. She says the depot will be a trail head for another transportation venue, our regional trail system. The depot might house a snack bar, perhaps, or bike rental shop something that will enhance the town's transportation heritage.

"There's no point in New Haven competing with Fort Wayne in the big things like the Children's Zoo or the art museum, but it can be the charming rural small town neighbor, lovely destination for people to bicycle to on the weekend," says Adams.

A town that ignores its past jeopardizes its future. There's none of that here, one reason why life remains just a little better, in New Haven Indiana.

New Haven is also an industrious city, so it's only appropriate to find a few good watering holes and restaurants to whet your whistle and fill your belly after a hard days work.

Right in the middle of downtown New Haven, you'll find Rack and Helens. They have a big menu with a wide variety of foods that should satisfy any craving. And since they're locally owned and have been since 2000, they try to give back to the community that's done right by them. General Manager Wes Anderson says, "We've always supported New Haven and New Haven has always supported us. We do whatever we can when we can, and New Haven has always done well by us as well."

If it's a home cooked Italian meal you're looking for, head to Salvatori's on the outskirts of New Haven on Route 30 just east of 469. It may not look like much, but it is worth the drive. Owner Sam Leto says, "Just simple home-cooked Italian. All your basics and we run features. If it's Italian, we probably have it." Leto owns and operates the restaurant with his family.

They opened in 2006 to honor his late father, Samuel Leto Junior. Leto says, "He went to the police department for twenty some years, retired there, and opened another little restaurant called Sam's Place on Columbia Street in Downtown Fort Wayne. And the year he opened that, unfortunately, he passed away, and I always thought I was gonna open something in his memory and this is what we came up with."

The place is packed on weekends and even some weeknights. Since business is doing so well, they just opened another restaurant in Fort Wayne at Illinois and Scott Road. The whole process hasn't been easy, either. It's required a lot of time and hard work, something you won't be finding a shortage of in the hard working city of New Haven.

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