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Road project hits the brakes

The Corydon-Ramsey Road expansion and improvement project was put ‘on hold’ Tuesday morning.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel approached the board of commissioners at its regular meeting for direction on the method for right-of-way acquisition on the stretch of road from S.R. 62 to S.R. 337.
Russel said the board’s legal counsel, John E. Colin, advised him to seek an appraiser for the properties before making an offer.
Commissioner chair James Goldman asked Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes how he was going to pay for the project, which is in Mathes’ district, to which Mathes said the right-of-way acquisitions would be paid for out of his contractual services line, and he would request riverboat gaming funds from the county council for the rest of the project.
Russel estimated the project would total about $850,000.
Commissioner Terry Miller asked Russel for driving statistics on Corydon-Ramsey Road, because it had never been discussed with the board, he said.
‘Every time I drive out there, I never pass anyone,’ Miller said.
Mathes said it will help when future growth occurs in the area, and it will also immediately give local traffic a better bypass from the seven traffic lights along S.R. 135 through the business corridor in Corydon. Mathes said the project includes widening the road slightly, adding turning lanes at all intersections, as well as a couple of site enhancement improvements.
Goldman said he thought the stretch of road from S.R. 337 north would be more important with the potential growth of the Pacer Court connector road and even the interstate interchange down the road.
‘Generally, when a project goes over and above funding, that’s something we gather all information, and the commissioners either do or do not get on the same page,’ Goldman said.
‘Well, it would have been nice if you laid out the rules when I started,’ Mathes said. ‘You must have been on vacation the last two years when I’ve talked about this project.’
Goldman said he thought the project would be fully paid with money already allotted to Mathes’ district.
Mathes told Russel to go ahead and put the project on hold.
‘These fellers want me to kiss their *** some more, so I’ll kiss their *** some more and then come back,’ Mathes said.
Miller said the commissioners don’t all just operate in one area.
Miller said he would be OK with the project if it was scaled down to just site improvement and turning lanes.
In other matters yesterday (Tuesday) morning, the board agreed to have Colin draft an ordinance to allow the payment process for the grant secured by South Harrison Community School Corp. and administered mainly by Harrison County Lifelong Learning to continue until the end of the year.
The board did not discuss creating an ordinance to encompass Lifelong Learning as a county entity or advising the organization to seek 501(c)(3) status.
Colin determined last month that Lifelong Learning was not a county entity.
The board’s next meeting will be Monday evening, Sept. 20, at 7:30.