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Federal-aid projects get council support

The Harrison County Council approved two letters of support Monday night for federal funding requests for the next phase of the Lanesville connector road and the addition of another bridge and completion of the Indian Creek Trail.
The trail project would connect the gap between the north section of the trail (YMCA of Harrison County section) and the south section (Hayswood Nature Reserve).
Walkers, runners and riders could then make their way from the YMCA and Keller Fields sports complex south along Indian Creek through downtown Corydon to Hayswood Nature Reserve, crossing two rehabilitated former county road bridges along the way.
One is already in place on the trail, the old Rothrock Mill Road bridge, and the other is a part of the requested project to take the old Valley View Road bridge and place it on the trail farther north on the Hayswood-side of the trail closer to downtown.
‘This bridge is one of only three historic truss bridges remaining in Harrison County and its use on the trail will ensure that it continues to service our community and be appreciated for generations to come,’ the letter of support reads.
The total project cost estimate is $2,538,919, and the county committed $507,783.80, or 20 percent, to the project as a local match.
The county is already committed to rehabilitating the bridge where it is now for the next 25 years, and, if the federal grant is secured, it will actually be cheaper for the county to move it and place it on the trail than to rehab it in place.
County Engineer Kevin Russel said many other letters of support have been received for the project from the Convention & Visitors Bureau, parks board, trail committee, historical society, Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources and the historical preservation archeology department of the DNR.
‘There’s a lot of entities that have gotten together and supported it,’ Commissioner George Ethridge told the council. ‘The planets are lining up.’
The Lanesville connector road request ‘ a total of $9,472,600 with a local match of $2,147,442 ‘ is the last of three phases to connect the Lanesville interchange area with S.R. 64.
The first phase, between the Interstate 64 interchange and George’s Hill Road, has already been completed. And the second phase, between George’s Hill Road and Old Lanesville Road, is fully-funded and is in the design phase with construction set for 2017.
In other business, Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye requested six new vehicles at a total cost of $201,000. Six of the oldest vehicles in the fleet will be retired and sold in the county auction. Seelye said the majority of the new vehicles will be Ford Explorers while the others will be Dodge Chargers.
‘I’m sure glad we had the Explorers this winter,’ he said.
Other options, Seelye said, are the Chevrolet Impalas, which have a large and smaller model. The large model is too expensive, he said, and, with the terrain of the county, the small ones would be beat up too easily. He also said the department has tried Dodge Durangos, but he didn’t like them as much as the Explorers.
Seelye also took the time to thank Jeff Skaggs, who earlier detailed the Community Drug Free grant recipients, which included money to county schools for after-prom activities. Seelye said it kept the kids from getting out and getting goofy and possibly causing or being involved in accidents.
‘Surely he’s saved a life by now,’ Seelye said of Skaggs and the program.