$1.2M from Community Crossings to Update Local Roads

(Article by Steve Garbacz shared with permission from KPC Media.)

INDIANAPOLIS — Noble and LaGrange counties will be receiving approximately $3.6 million to put toward road work from the state’s Community Crossings grant program.

Six local government agencies — Kendallville, Rome City, LaGrange County, LaGrange, Shipshewana and Topeka — were on the list of communities awarded grants.

The program, which has existed for a couple years and pumped millions into local highway and street departments, has a maximum award of up to $1 million available.

Of the local agencies getting grants this time, Kendallville received the biggest grant for $997,388.71.

The city was shut out in the last cycle, which caused the city to press pause on work to about a dozen streets due to a lack of funding. Now that the money is coming through, Kendallville will be able to advance on multiple mill-and-pave projects, as well as a total rebuild of Timberlane Drive, City Engineer Scott Derby said.

“We’re always hopeful and you never know with the grant, we’re very very happy and thankful,” Derby said.

The majority of the work will be more mill and overlay projects, and any street that’s getting work will also get new Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant crossings, if needed.

After Kendallville, Shipshewana was the next biggest recipient with $720,000, followed by Topeka at $631,500, LaGrange at $562,500, LaGrange County at $409,559.11 and Rome City getting $255,939.75.

Lagrange and Shipshewana both got all the money they asked for.

Lagrange will use the grant money to build new curbs and sidewalks and resurface Walnut Street starting at Nursery Street east to Lake Street.

“We just try to get every grant we can to help reduce the costs,” said Mark Eagleson, LaGrange Town Manager. “It was every cent we asked for.”

In Shipshewana, the town will use the money in 2020 to continue work on Middlebury Street east of Talmadge Street, rebuilding that road from the ground up with new sidewalks and curbs too. A state grant helped the town rebuild Middlebury Street from S.R. 5 to Talmadge Street this year.

“Without this, we couldn’t do it,” said Bob Shanahan, Shipshewana town manager. Shanahan called the Community Crossing Program a great program for small communities like Shipshewana.

Noble County wasn’t on the list this time, but that’s because the county highway department has already topped out its grant total for 2019.

Noble County received $1 million this spring, so it wasn’t eligible to apply again this fall, Noble County Highway Department Engineer Zack Smith said.

“Starting this year, INDOT shifted to two calls for projects, once in the spring and once in the fall,” Smith said. “Each municipality is still only eligible for $1 million per year. Noble County received the full $1 million early this spring and was therefore maxed out for the year and ineligible for the fall call.”