Starke County Commissioners Review Potential Community Crossings Projects

Starke County Highway Superintendent Rik Ritzler presented a potential list of projects for the next call for projects in the Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings Matching Grant program.

Ritzler said the county was awarded a grant in the amount of $731,580 for the resurfacing of County Road 50 S. from State Road 39 to the Knox City Limits.  This will be a hot mix asphalt and binder course.  Bids for this project will be opened in December.

The next round comes in January and other one is set in July.  Ritzler has ideas of what to include.

“Our plan is to continue with our hot mix truck route plan in regard to the applications,” said Ritzler.  “The next three projects are County Road 250 North from U.S. 35 to Range Road, Range Road from State Road 10 to Toto Road that goes by Bailey’s, and County Road 400 South from just west of County Road 650 West to U.S. 421.” 

Ritzler said the list may need to be prioritized in order for funding to fall into place next year.

He mentioned that the Division Road intersection improvement at 300 East could be included in an application, but it depends on if the Starke County Economic Development Foundation acquires the necessary right-of-way land for that project. 

Commissioner Kathy Norem strongly objected to the Division Road project being in the plan as she expressed her frustration on the performance of the Foundation in the way of attracting jobs to the county and companies providing competitive wages. 

“I’m very disappointed with the Economic Development Foundation.  We changed our contract with them to try to get them to increase the wages here in Starke County because we are one of the poorest counties in the state.  Our new contract was contingent on them getting extra money for the people that work here.  So, this new project that they got that they want this road for, let them do their own road!  I’m sick and tired of Starke County always being last!”

Ritzler will review the projects and submit an application in the January round of Community Crossings grants.