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Request for funds to pave private road nixed

Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

Dustin Hartlage, a resident of Harrison County, approached the commissioners at their meeting Monday evening to discuss an issue he and his neighbors have been dealing with for as long as they have each lived in their current homes.

Hartlage and his neighbors live along Creekside Drive, a privately owned road located in Morgan Township that has never been paved. He explained that he took over the road this year and he and his neighbors have been trying to save enough to fund the paving fees for it.

“I talked with C&R Construction and they gave two bid prices to pave it,” Hartlage told the commissioners. “As it sits now to just pave the road would be around $80,000, but to bring it up to county specifications it’s around $157,000.”

Seven of the 15 residents who live along that road have been collecting money to fund the paving project and currently have $80,000 raised and placed in a bank account controlled by Hartlage. He approached the commissioners in hopes they would be willing to fund the remaining balance to have the road meet county guidelines and would then take over the road.

However, each of the commissioners noted that, if they were to fund the remaining balance of this project, it would “open the floodgates” for others to receive similar funding from the county.

“I have other people in my district with the same problem,” Commissioner Nelson Stepro said. “There will just be no way to stop everyone from asking for it if we funded yours, which is why we require it to be up to county specs. We can’t do it for one if we can’t do it for everyone.”

Commissioner Jim Heitkemper suggested that, if Hartlage and his neighbors raised 90% of the required funds, he would consider funding the rest of the request. However, he also said that would set a precedence for others and noted that might not be ideal.

All three commissioners commended Hartlage and the residents of Creekside Drive for raising $80,000, noting they don’t remember anyone else with this issue coming that close.

Hartlage said he and his neighbors still intend to have the road paved but wanted to try each avenue for funding before moving forward.

Glen Bube, the superintendent of the Harrison County Highway Dept., approached the commissioners on behalf of highway director Kevin Russel to update them on a couple of items.

He told them the Community Crossings grant project on Old Highway 111 is complete. He requested a change order deduction of $7,476 to bring the final contract to $1,169,432.

The commissioners approved the change order, closing that project with the Indiana Dept. of Transportation.

The commissioners also approved a request from Bube to resign the intersection at Crawford Road and Rabbit Hash Road SE in Elizabeth as a three-way intersection.

Bube noted that there has been one crash at the intersection but it was a “bad intersection for anyone who comes to it.”

April Breeden, director of Harrison County Animal Control, was on the agenda to speak at the meeting but was not in attendance.

The commissioners will meet again Monday, Oct. 4, at 8:30 a.m. at the government center in Corydon.