The county seat is getting in on an opportunity to receive funding to improve streets.
Brownstown Clerk-Treasurer David Willey said he is in the process of putting together a list of streets in need of work so he can apply for the Next Level Roads: Community Crossings Initiative.
FPBH Inc. has agreed to assist the town as it submits the grant application and other required paperwork.
Beginning in 2019, the Indiana Department of Transportation is making it more convenient for communities to pursue Community Crossings grants by offering two calls for projects per year.
INDOT will accept project applications in January and July each year with a given community being eligible to apply for up to $1 million once per year during the call of their choice.
If Brownstown receives funding, Bernie Hauersperger with FPBH said the company would help the town seek quotes from contractors and plan out the work.
Community Crossings was created by the Indiana General Assembly in 2016. Funds for the program are awarded from the state’s local road and bridge matching grant fund.
To qualify for funding, local governments must provide local matching funds — 50 percent for larger communities or 25 percent for smaller communities — from a funding source approved for road and bridge construction. They also must submit an INDOT-approved asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges.
State law requires 50 percent of the available matching funds be awarded to communities within counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer.
State lawmakers identified long-term funding for Community Crossings as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Holcomb in April 2017.
Crothersville recently received funding for the second year in a row. After completing 14 paving projects with $423,406.10 in Community Crossings funding this year, the southeastern Jackson County town received $217,480.80 for 14 projects in 2019.
For the most recent funding awarded, 283 Indiana cities, towns and counties received a combined $100 million in state matching funds for local road projects. There were 444 communities that applied for funds, making the call for projects highly competitive.
Now in its third year, Community Crossings has awarded nearly $400 million in state matching funds to local governments for construction projects.
The Brownstown Town Council also discussed seeking funding to extend Steinkamp Street so there would be a second access road to and from Brownstown Elementary School. Currently, the only way in and out of the school is via Base Road.
Hauersperger said he doesn’t think that can be included in the Community Crossings funding, so the town may seek other state or federal grants to get assistance with the project.
“It has to be a collector street, something that goes from a major street to a major street, which you have that right now,” he said. “The question is where we would stop, if you want sidewalks or a trail up through there.”
That’s where the town could get into some serious dollars, he said.
“That’s the kind of thing you can preplan for and do some kind of preliminary engineering report sometime early next year,” Hauersperger said. “I think that would be the smarter solution because that’s going to be a very expensive road to get over there, especially if you are wanting bus traffic on it and things like that.”