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State officials: ‘no surprise’ over railroad issues

Harrison County Councilwoman Holli Castetter updated the council Monday night on the latest news about the Town of Corydon’s Stellar Communities activities.
Castetter is the council’s representative to the Stellar committee, which met Feb. 14 with state officials from multiple agencies.
Castetter said two things stood out from the meeting from the council’s perspective. One, she said, state officials showed ‘no surprise’ that problems arose with the funding and project concept at the Keller site.
Castetter said an official told the group ‘any of these Stellar Communities that have attempted to develop properties that have railroads have either significantly changed their plans or scrapped them altogether.’
Due to lack of support from railroad owner Forrest Lucas, and because of changes to the originally agreed upon plan, the county council pulled $4 million from the project last month.
Castetter also relayed to the council that the fact the council pulled its $4 million from the project would not affect the Stellar designation.
‘It will be intact regardless what we do from here,’ Castetter said.
The Keller project, which Corydon officials and partners intend to move forward with, includes a park/green space on the west side of the tracks leading to Big Indian Creek and a hotel, event center, housing and parking areas on the east side of the tracks (for more information, see related story, page A1).
Castetter also notified the board of positive news regarding another Stellar project in downtown Corydon.
She said grant money from the state has been secured for the Corydon School Senior Lofts project at the Gerdon Youth Center in the amount of $810,000 in residential housing tax credits for 10 years and $900,000 in additional grant money.
‘So, the good news is the senior lofts is a huge step closer to being a reality now,’ she said.
The project will transform the youth center building, located along East Chestnut Street, into 25 units of senior living.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrison-Crawford Counties, which currently uses the building, will move to a new facility adjacent to the YMCA of Harrison County. That portion of the project will be funded by the Harrison County Community Foundation.
The lofts project cost totals more than $7 million.
In other business, the council did not make a decision about the $5 million high-speed Internet request from Connect Harrison County Inc. and Mainstream Fiber Networks.
The request was unanimously approved and passed on from the board of commissioners, but no specific funding source was identified so it was not advertised to be voted on (the council heard the request at its previous meeting).
Council Chair Gary Davis said they will continue to work on finding the correct avenues for funding the project.
The council’s next meeting will be Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.