Noble County gets $2.46 million in Community Crossings grants
By Steve Garbacz and Matt Getz | KPC Media - The News Sun
The Indiana Department of Transportation is sending $2.46 million to Noble County for road work through the Community Crossings grant program.
The Noble County Highway Department, Albion and Avilla were the three local agencies receiving a spring 2019 award.
Kendallville was not funded for the second cycle in a row.
Ligonier didn’t apply in this cycle after receiving funds in November. No one from LaGrange County received any money this time around after LaGrange, Shipshewana and Topeka were all awarded grants four months ago.
Noble County will receive $1 million again after being shut out in the November funding cycle. After not getting that money, the county highway department changed its emphasis for the program, submitting large sections of asphalt overlays instead of aiming for work in subdivisions.
“We are doing our mainline 2-inch (hot mix asphalt) overlay package,” Noble County Highway Engineer Zack Smith said. “This is separate from the major subdivision work that we are doing with local funds.”
The $1 million will go toward repaving some of the county’s most major routes including: Allen Chapel road between C.R. 700N and C.R. 900N; C.R. 1000E between C.R. 900N and C.R. 1000N; C.R. 415N between C.R. 500E and C.R. 600E; Lisbon Road between C.R. 600E and S.R. 3; C.R. 800W between C.R. 200N and Cromwell Road; C.R. 860W between Cromwell Road and S.R. 5; Sparta Lake Road between Cromwell Road and U.S. 33; C.R. 1100W between C.R. 300N and C.R. 375N; and C.R. 375N between C.R. 1100W and Cromwell.
Noble County has been very successful with the Community Crossings program, receiving $1 million every grant cycle except last fall.
Albion was the next biggest winner, getting $804,750 in funding.
“That’s a pretty good day,” Town Manager Stefen Wynn said. “We’re really excited.”
Albion’s planned project will have three main components — all of West Hazel Street will see significant repaving work done; the street will also get sidewalks, curbs and gutters; and the sidewalk will connect the Village of White Oaks with the rest of the town. Stormwater and water improvements will also be made along West Hazel.
According to Wynn, the estimated cost of the project is $1.073 million. The town’s matching portion, about $268,000, will come from Economic Development Improvement Tax funds, street department dollars and a small portion from tax-increment financing district funds.
Work could begin later this year, but depending on the availability of contractors, it may be pushed to 2020, Wynn said.
Avilla is also back in the winner’s circle this round, getting $656,250.
Avilla had last been awarded Community Crossings money in 2018, but had to return the $400,000 when bids for its proposed downtown renovation project came in more than 50 percent higher than estimates.
Avilla Town Manager Bill Ley was equally pleased with word Tuesday that his town’s long-awaited $1.2 million downtown revitalization effort would finally become a reality.
“Today’s a good day,” Ley said. “I had my fingers crossed.”
The plan calls for extensive improvements to Albion Street, from Haines to Ley streets. The work will include new paving, new sidewalks, handicap-accessible curbing, new streets lights and multiple bump-outs which will extend curbing and sidewalks in sections, which will give the downtown flair.
The project has been a long time coming.
“We’ve been working on our downtown improvement area since 2012,” Ley said. “I’m glad to see it for the benefit of the town.”
The news wasn’t all good, though, for Noble County communities.
After not getting funded in fall, Kendallville resubmitted a $1.3 million total package for work on 11 different city streets. Kendallville had received about a half million dollars in both 2016 and 2017, but was shut out in 2018.
City engineer Scott Derby said he wasn’t sure why the city was not funded again, but that he feels the 11 projects are solid projects and he plans to resubmit them in the next funding cycle in July.
“It’s not like we’ve come up empty every time,” Derby said. “For whatever reason this time we weren’t funded. I’m not entirely sure why, but we’ll be reaching out to INDOT to see if there’s something we can improve on.”
For now, those 11 street projects will simply be put on hold until the next round of awards, Derby said.