Interest in upgrading U.S. 30 to freeway standards doesn’t appear to be as high as previously thought, and that’s drawing frustration from Hamlet officials. Ron Gifford with the Starke County Economic Development Foundation told the town council Wednesday that the Indiana Department of Transportation is looking at other projects now and doesn’t appear interested in U.S. 30.
“The coalition that was formed has contacted all of the representatives from [State Road] 49 all the way over to the Ohio line,” Gifford said. “Most of them, not all of them, have signed a letter going to the governor that indicates that they want U.S. 30 done, and so they’re showing some support for that.”
Town Council President Dave Kesvormas said that while discussions were taking place, the town has been missing out on development opportunities. “We’ve created coalitions,” he said. “We’ve had meetings. We’ve had people get together. We’ve extended resources to doing that, and nothing’s come of it. It was a big waste of time, as I’ve said.”
Kesvormas said he’s spoken with representatives from gas station, fast food, and retail chains about setting up shop in Hamlet, but talk that their access to U.S. 30 might be cut off in the next 10 years has discouraged them from investing. “Maybe we just leave 30 alone,” Kesvormas suggested, “don’t put any more stoplights in there, don’t do anything fancy with J-turns, and we’re just going to scrap the project, leave it as it is, and, you know, quit scaring everybody with the uncertainty, that may or may not happen.”
Kesvormas felt that the uncertainty about the future of U.S. 30 is also why the SYSCO property has failed to be sold.