The future of a longtime family farm, which has been a staple in Northwest Indiana for 80 years, could be in jeopardy as a result of a proposed senior living facility development.
Scheeringa Farms, located at 9436 Cline Ave. in Highland, is owned by the family that bears its name, but the family has also farmed another piece of land - a nearby 20 acres, which they say they farm on a "handshake deal."
The Highland Town Council recently voted to rezone that land, a move that would pave the way for a senior living facility, and according to one council member, create tax revenue in the community.
However, not everyone is on board.
"Why does a multi-million dollar corporation from out of state get such a red carpet treatment?" questioned Mark Schocke, Highland Town Council president.
The Scheeringa family uses the 20-acre piece of land to grow some of their vegetables and to hold a hayride for the community.
"We have done this for our entire lives, since we were little girls, and I couldn't imagine my life here without it," said Janille Scheeringa.
For the family, they just want a chance to buy the land.
"What they don’t understand is the hay rides, the things for the small children to come and do, the fundraising that we do for all the schools and the town of Highland," Janille Scherringa explained. "If we can’t afford to do that for them, then you know, there’s a lot of things that’s gonna change."
An attorney for the developer said the plan, for now, is only to develop seven acres, and the family would be able to keep farming the rest for the foreseeable future.
A town council member said the public was made aware of the plan more than a year ago.