Kendallville celebrates start of projects
By Dennis Nartker | KPC News - The News Sun
State Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, and Rep. David Ober, R-Albion, joined city officials, contractors, engineers and city employees Thursday morning to break ground on two of Kendallville’s major infrastructure improvement projects.
The $7.1 million overhaul of the wastewater treatment plant and $3.12 million Fairview Boulevard reconstruction project come soon after Indiana legislators directed revenue from a 10-cent increase in the state gasoline tax and a new $15 vehicle registration fee to cities and towns for local projects.
At both ceremonies, Mayor Suzanne Handshoe thanked Glick and Ober for supporting the legislation that directs $340 million to municipal governments beginning in July.
City officials have used a combination of state and federal grants, a bond issuance, a loan, utility user fee increases and tax increment finance district revenue to finance both projects.
The additional state money means the city can plan for more street improvements, according to Handshoe. She praised the teamwork that went into the three years of planning for the project.
Kendallville’s Engineering Department designed the temporary road off Goodwin Place to the wastewater treatment plant, and Street Department employees built it to keep the heavy trucks off Main Street during construction.
Ober, chairman of the House of Representatives’ Utilities Committee, praised Kendallville officials for going forward with the wastewater treatment plant overhaul and not kicking it “down the road” like so many other communities.
“It’s all about the growth of Kendallville,” he said.
Glick also praised everyone involved in the project. She noted how people take for granted that their sewage system will work when they use it, and how expensive it can be to repair when it doesn’t work properly.
“Citizens will benefit from these improvements for many years to come. It’s part of the city’s growth,” she said.
The wastewater treatment plant upgrade’s $7.1 million construction cost is included in $12.55 million the city raised through the sale of a 15-year bond, as well as the $1.22 million in engineering costs and costs associated with the bond sale. The financial package also included refinancing $3.15 million in existing bonds and allotting $1.1 million for debt-service reserve.
H.J. Umbaugh and Associates worked with city officials on the financing. “This financing saved the city thousands of dollars,” said Umbaugh’s Eric Walsh.
City Councilman Regan Ford noted the improvements will create economic development for Kendallville.
Karl Tanner, project engineer for Triad Associates Inc., said the wastewater treatment plant upgrades will meet the needs of Kendallville for the next 40 years.
Officials then gathered at the Kendallville Event Center, near the Fairview Boulevard and Professional Way intersection, to break ground for the street project. Fairview Boulevard will be rebuilt from Dowling Street north to U.S. 6.
Handshoe praised city Engineering Department administrator Scott Derby for his work on the project. She pointed out the multiuse path that is part of the project will connect to the East Dowling Street pathway and the Allen Chapel Road pathway to the Kendallville Outdoor Recreation Complex. The north end eventually will connect to the Fishing Line Trail that is planned between Kendallville and Rome City.
The improved major north-south thoroughfare is another sign of economic growth in Kendallville, said Ober.
A federal grant is paying 80 percent of the Fairview Boulevard project cost, with the other 20 percent coming from local sources, including the Eastside Tax Increment Financing District.
API Construction Inc. of LaOtto is the general contractor. Kirk Braun, API president, told those at the ceremony he grew up in Kendallville and is proud of being a part of the project benefiting the city.