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Hospital Drive slated for parking at HCH open house

The Harrison County Commissioners decided to close Hospital Drive between S.R. 337 and Corydon-Ramsey Road on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. as a safety factor during the Harrison County Hospital’s open house that day.
The hospital expects 3,000 to 4,000 visitors for the grand opening, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Jim Lawton, maintenance and security supervisor at the hospital.
There is parking at the new facility for between 600 and 700 vehicles, but more than that could be on-site Saturday throughout the day. The four-lane Hospital Drive will be used as temporary diagonal parking, while still allowing traffic in and out of the entrance.
‘I would think that would be enough to take care of it,’ said Commissioner James Goldman. ‘I think the best protection will be to close the road about an hour before.’
In other business last Tuesday night, Commissioner Terry Miller made the motion to agree with the alignment position for the Milltown bridge decided upon by the Crawford County Commissioners, which is upstream 30 to 40 feet north of the current location. Eckart seconded the motion.
The commissioners did not yet, however, agree to the funding of the bridge.
‘I’m supportive of their project,’ said Commissioner J.R. Eckart. ‘I’m going to wait, talk to Kevin (Russel) about bridge 58 and 15.’
Harrison County’s portion will likely be $904,860, according to Goldman, which could be broken into two separate payments, one in 2008 and the other in 2009.
The Crawford County Commissioners do not want to sign a contract without Harrison County onboard, according to Goldman.
‘They’re ready to sign a contract,’ he added.
Another bridge project is set to begin soon in Harrison County. Construction on a new bridge on Lickford Bridge Road will hopefully begin by March 15, according to Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering. The estimated cost of the bridge is $220,000, which is somewhat conservative, said Russel, the county engineer.
A permit is needed from the Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources for an emergency closure, which should take about four weeks to be processed.
Once construction starts, access to the residents will be gone and something has to be in place to allow passage.
Russel said the contractor could rent a small barge that could be tied across the creek.
‘Anything we do, we’re going to look at cost,’ he said. ‘I’m not sure I have my mind made up on what’s best.’
Commissioner Terry Miller made the motion to send a letter for emergency closure of the bridge to DNR and send the $220,000 request to the Harrison County Council out of the riverboat contingency fund.
‘The council wanted to spend (cumulative bridge) down to nothing,’ said Miller. ‘I don’t think that’s a good policy, myself. I’d like to see it out of contingency; the infrastructure account is getting low.’
Eckart seconded the motion.
In other matters:
‘ The Harrison County Community Foundation will soon surpass the $20 million for grant money given in Harrison County.
‘We give high school graduates a check to continue their education,’ said Brian Churchill, president of the HCCF. ‘Believe me, they won’t forget it.’
Finance chairman Bill Thomas informed the commissioners that the fund will exceed $40 million at the end of 2008, and be more than $50 million a year later.
‘Looking back, with all the heat that was dished out, it’s nice to look at these numbers,’ said Miller. ‘It exceeded everybody’s expectations. It makes you proud.’
‘What we’ve got tucked away here, we’ll have forever,’ said Steve Gilliland, executive director of the Foundation.
‘Our main job is to make sure not-for-profits have enough money to do the job they do,’ said Churchill. ‘Our goal is to quietly make Harrison County a better place for a family to live.’
Gilliland said the Foundation has funded about 60 percent of the requests it has received.
‘Our investments did very well, according to our peers in Southern Indiana,’ said Gilliland.
(Monday night, at the county council meeting, Carl Mathes, council chairman, asked if the stock market downturn has affected the Foundation, to which Thomas said it has. The Foundation averages are 7 or 8 percent off its peak, Thomas said. ‘It doesn’t take too much to gain that back,’ he added.)
The conference room in the new Foundation building has been used by 39 different organizations for nearly 200 meetings since it opened in spring 2007, said Gilliland.
‘It was obviously something the not-for-profit community needed,’ Gilliland said.
‘ The commissioners heard a request of $500,000 from Darrell Voelker, Harrison County’s economic development director. The total request is the same amount as last year, he said.