Four Jackson County governmental bodies received more than $2.5 million Tuesday to use toward improving the state’s economic competitiveness and quality of life.
According to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Roads: Community Crossings Initiative announcement, Seymour received the largest amount — and arguably the oddest — of $999,999.99.
The county followed with $999,251.35, while Brownstown received $350,124.75, and Medora received $156,918.75.
Tuesday’s announcement saw $115 million awarded to 189 Hoosier cities, towns and counties from the 229 that applied.
Community Crossings was created by the Indiana General Assembly in 2016 and is funded by the state.
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 Indiana Department of Transportation-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.
Bernie Hauersperger with FPBH Inc., who helped Brownstown with the application process, said work will be completed on Ashland and Ewing streets along with Venus Road.
The largest project is Ashland Street, which will receive $243,874 in work.
That work will include replacing curbs and gutters and removing aging cracks and patches, according to the town’s application. Ashland Street connects Commerce and Beech streets.
Ashland Street has been worn down from increased traffic and has shown signs of blocking, raveling, cracking and roadway failure, according to the town’s application.
Town Council President Sally Lawson said she is extremely excited for this project to get underway.
“This is an amazing project to add to the list of developments in Brownstown this year,” she said. “With the new town hall/police department project finally underway, it is so encouraging to see such progress throughout our town.”
County Highway Superintendent Jerry Ault said 17.1 miles of road will be repaved following with the grant monies.
With the 25 percent match, the county will spend $1,332,336.56 in Brownstown, Carr, Grassy Fork, Owen and Redding townships.
It also brings the county’s highway budget to nearly $3 million for 2019, Ault said. Roads in other townships also will receive attention with that money, he said.
Ault said the county has picked the roads that need the most attention as priorities for projects this year.
“Pretty much every area throughout the county will receive attention,” he said.
Ault said the county’s money goes farther than cities such as Seymour because county roads are not as wide.
“I’m pretty excited we received it because they only have so much money to go around the counties and communities across the state,” he said.
Ault said the work is expected to begin this summer.
He hopes the county can improve its PASER rating with INDOT. He said about 70 percent of the county’s 738 road miles are rated in good condition.
“The object is to get at least 80 percent in good condition,” he said.
The rating helps the county prioritize projects, Ault said.
Tuesday’s funding was the first time Medora has been awarded a grant through the program, Town Council President Bob Thompson said.
Work is set to begin in the late summer after bids are awarded later this spring or the early part of the summer.
Thompson said the grant will fund plans to mill and pave portions of Main and George streets.
The money also will finish out a sidewalk near the senior citizens center, which Thompson said will be a big boost for those who spend time there.
The project also includes milling and overlaying Main Street from its eastern boundary at David Street to George Street, said Jon Craig, a project manager with Midwestern Engineers Inc. of Loogootee. That firm helped with the application process.
That project will skip over State Road 235 (Perry Street) because the state is responsible for that work and then head south on George Street one block to Riley Street.
“That’s in dire need there in front of the school,” Thompson said. “The first wave here is the downtown cleanup.”
Craig said the project also will improve drainage.
Thompson said he thinks the work will it put a little pride back into the community.
“I think it’s been over 30 years since any asphalt has been put down here,” he said.
He said the town will continue to aggressively seek grant opportunities to improve the community.
“We’re going to continue to apply for it as long as we can to upgrade the town and clean it up some,” he said.
Thompson said with the recent grant to refurbish the town’s basketball court, there are plenty of projects to be excited about in Medora.
“There’s a lot of little things that are adding up to improve our community,” he said. “I’m excited because I’ve lived here my whole life.”
Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said the city received the unusual figure because state regulatory guidelines sometimes require certain grants to be issued in an unusual amount.
Washington County also received $999,999.99, and Scott County received $999,999.96.
Seymour’s share will lead to work on 3.15 miles of road on 23 different streets throughout the city. Municipalities greater than 10,000 in population have to pay 50 percent for the grant, Luedeman said.
The longest stretch is 2,250 feet Park Street from Garden Avenue to O’Brien Street.
Other work included in the project are Circle Street, 16th Street, East Eighth Street, Redwood Drive, Redwood Court, Reliance Avenue, Camelot Drive, Frontage Road, South Park Street, Hawthorne Court, Snyder Court, Seventh Street, Blish Street, Hustedt Street, Pine Street, Fifth Avenue, Killion Avenue, Fourth Avenue, Evergreen Drive, Garden Avenue, South Jackson Park Drive, Marley Lane and B Avenue.
“It’s huge to keep us on pace to keep continuing to rebuild our network and get our roads back in shape,” Luedeman said.
He said in his State of the City address that officials should consider spending $3 million annually on roads. Other funding by the city council along with the grant will position the city to spend about $2 million in street work during 2019, Luedeman said.
“This is getting us farther down the road than the $250,000 we had been spending prior to the last six or seven years,” he said.
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Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Transportation announced 189 communities throughout the state received $115 million in funding for roads through the Next Level Roads: Community Crossings Initiative.
Here’s the funding in Jackson County: