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Residents revved up over road improvements

A group of residents along Corydon-Ramsey Road Monday night, led by Barbara Rumple, asked the Board of Commissioners to stop the road improvement and widening project of Corydon-Ramsey Road, from Sherri Lane to Pennington Chapel Road.
The group brought a petition of 23 names of people joining the cause. Rumple said all but two families or residents affected by the project signed the petition.
Rumple said improving the roadway will only encourage motorists to drive faster and the road will become even more dangerous than it already is.
She said the planned new road will come within feet of some houses and old, large trees they’ve enjoyed for years will have to be cut down.
Commissioner James Goldman said he or county engineer representatives will go door-to-door in the near future to further explain the ins-and-outs of the project.
‘I totally understand the project,’ Rumple said. ‘I’m going to lose more than anybody. It’s not going to slow people down.’
She said when her family first moved to the area she’d send her then-4-year-old out to get the mail. Now, she can’t even get it herself without stopping three times for vehicles that are traveling too fast.
Harrison County Engineer Kevin Russel said Corydon-Ramsey Road was identified as the most dangerous road as far as crashes in a 2003 transportation plan study. He said there are a lot of variables besides speed on roads that the commissioners can control and improve.
‘They’re not trying to be bullies,’ Russel said of the commissioners. ‘There’s 1,500 to 2,000 people that drive that road daily. They’ve (commissioners) got to look at their safety, too.’
Rumple said she found it hard to swallow that Russel and the commissioners believe the improvements will make the road safer.
From a technical standpoint, Russel said he finds it hard to understand how it could not be safer after improvements.
‘Even if they drive 50 to 60 mph, it will be safer,’ he said.
‘You all don’t live there,’ Rumple said. ‘We deal with it every day.’
Rumple said the residents are prepared to hire legal counsel in the event it can’t get the project stopped.
In other business Monday, representatives with Air Methods, an air medical transport company, officially introduced themselves to the board of commissioners.
Air Methods is in the process of completing a trailer unit to temporarily house a helicopter crew year-round at Harrison County Hospital in Corydon. A permanent structure, to be located closer to the helipad, is in the works.
‘Personally, I’m very happy to see you’re going to be here to serve our community and region,’ Goldman said.
William Jennings, business development manager with Air Methods, said the Corydon location will help better serve rural Southern Indiana.
The trailer will house a nurse, a paramedic and a pilot 365 days out of the year. The next closest Air Methods helicopter is stationed in Elizabethtown, Ky., about an 18-minute flight.
Jennings said they hope to be fully operational by June 1.
‘We’re glad to have you in our county,’ Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said.
Air Methods has served Southern Indiana and the Louisville region since 1982. It has 13 bases in the region with aircraft available every day of the year with overlapping coverage area to ensure a helicopter is readily available.
Also at the meeting, William Kellogg, with Verizon, reported to the board that he could save the county between $3,000 and $5,000 a year by combining cell phone service under one county plan. Kellogg met with county auditor Karen Engleman to view the phone details. The county has 25 cell phones but may add the three commissioners to the plan.
Kellogg said he’ll be able to get all of the other phones out of their contracts, since they’re done so under the government umbrella, with the exception of one employee who signed a contract individually.
‘They’re not allowed to do that,’ Goldman said.
Kellogg said he’ll begin meeting with all county employees who have a cell phone.
Also, the board approved nearly $3,000 for back pay to John Britton for work before he was terminated as a police officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department.
Mathes also instructed the Harrison County Planning and Zoning Commission to begin the process of taking over the two-mile fridge from the town of Corydon with the creation of a comprehensive plan.
The commissioners’ next meeting will be Monday, June 4, at 8:30 a.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.