Pulaski County Road 60 West, also known as Fitz Industrial Parkway, will be closed to through traffic, following action by the County Commissioners Monday. They voted to vacate the road between State Road 14 and 25 South.
The closure came at the request of BraunAbility, which operates plants on either side of the road. Company officials say the current situation creates a dangerous mix of semi trucks, pedestrians, and passenger cars.
On top of that, the company is working on an application for a $200,000 employee training grant from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which requires participation from the county. BraunAbility says handing over the road to the company would meet that requirement, without the need for the business to seek a new tax abatement or grant from the county.
They add that officially closing the street would allow BraunAbility to secure its facilities by surrounding its entire campus with a fence. However, the county would retain an easement to allow utility vehicles to access the site. Additionally, BraunAbility has promised guaranteed access to neighboring businesses between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., and 24-hour access with reasonable notice.
What exactly that means was a topic of debate during Monday’s meeting. S & S Precast was the only business to officially oppose the move, fearing the change would impact trucks’ ability to access the facility in a timely manner, hurting the company’s bottom line. BraunAbility officials offered that 24-hour access may simply be granted to truck drivers who state that S & S Precast is their destination.
Many residents who live nearby also complained that they would be inconvenienced by the change, and an attorney representing S & S Precast requested more time to discuss the matter with BraunAbility. Commissioner Bud Krohn Jr. suggested tabling the discussion until January, at which point he would be joined by two new commissioners. But his proposal failed to get a second from Larry Brady or Terry Young.
Instead, they both voted to move ahead with the requested vacation. S & S Precast’s attorney requested that Young abstain from the vote, due to his employment with the Braun Corporation. He refused and voted anyway. “It was me that brought up this to Braun Corporation over a year ago at one of our town hall meetings,” he explained. “I see guys almost get hit every day. We had a fire drill here a month ago. We have hundreds of people out there. It’s a very dangerous situation. I filed reports down at the Clerk’s Office. A conflict? No sir, I’m not getting anything out of this.”
Instead, Krohn appeared to abstain, neither voting in favor of or against the measure. S & S Precast has 30 days to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court.