Posted on

Corydon west resolution approved

The Harrison County Council voted Tuesday night, Oct. 11, to approve the resolution supporting the Corydon west Interstate 64 interchange project.
The resolution passed with a 4-3 vote, with Councilmen Gary Davis, Phil Smith and Ralph Sherman against.
The proposed interchange project is planned for about two miles west of the current interchange, but the location will have to be agreed upon by Harrison County and state officials.
Last month, the resolution failed with Councilman Jim Heitkemper abstaining. On Tuesday, he read a prepared statement before voting in favor of the potential $15 million project.
‘Back in 2003, we all had great hopes for this project,’ he said. ‘Sadly, state help has evaporated, and now, over $9 million of federal help is about to evaporate, too. We are about to be orphaned unless we get going.’
He said the project is very important for the economic success of the county by creating jobs and helping attract new business to the community.
‘Personally, I will not stand for being solely responsible for losing that opportunity for all of us. A united team effort would have been nice to have at this time, but we do not have time to waste. We need to take action.’
Commissioner James Goldman also spoke in support of the resolution, and two county residents shared differing views of the project with one in support and one against.
Kellen Wicke, who lives in West Haven Estates subdivision west of Corydon near the proposed interchange, said he was concerned about the noise the interchange would produce for neighborhoods located near the proposed site. He asked for the resolution to address the noise issue and to include language for a fence between the interchange and the road.
Paul Sherrill of Corydon said he supported the project because it would be an asset to all residents well into the future.
‘Gentlemen, please put aside your political views and vote it in tonight,’ he said. ‘This is your last chance to save $10 million.’
Goldman printed out the section of the Indiana Code discussing riverboat gaming funds to show that it can and should be used for economic development. He said the interchange would open up the entire western corridor and would improve transportation to and from Harrison County Hospital and enhance the Industrial Park. He said the project was widely supported throughout the county in a study conducted 10 years ago.
‘INDOT thought it was a good project, but, with the money crunch, they were forced to abandon it,’ Goldman said.
Goldman gave other examples of county or town governments using funding to support projects such as Rising Sun, Fort Wayne and another example in northwest Indiana.
Herb Schneider, who is the Lanesville Town Council president, spoke to the county council about plans for enhancing the I-64 Lanesville interchange.
Goldman said they haven’t forgotten about Lanesville, but Corydon is more enticing to businesses with its gas stations, sewer system and banking.
Davis, as he has previously stated, said he thinks the already existing Lanesville interchange would be a better place to spend the money for economic development.
The resolution asks the Indiana Department of Transportation to make the interchange a priority and to pay for the remainder of the cost above the more than $9 million of federal money secured for the project. If INDOT cannot come up with the extra funding, the resolution says Harrison County will come up with $5.8 million, but its contribution won’t exceed that amount.
After some discussion as to whether the council could vote on the resolution that night, Councilman Richard Gerdon made the motion to approve it and Councilman Chris Timberlake seconded.
The board of commissioners and its lobbyists, Appian and Structure Point, can now begin talks with INDOT about reviving the project.
The board also sent a letter to State Rep. Rhonda Rhoads, R-Corydon, asking for her support with the project.