Commissioners have limited options for Sparksville Road PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 September 2009 00:00
    The Washington County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Wednesday, September 2 with all members present.  The minutes of the previous meeting(s), payroll and all claims were approved unanimously.
    The Commissioners heard from Jill Saegesser of River Hills Economic Development, the organization that administers grants for the county, regarding funding options to solve the ongoing problems with Sparksville Road.
    Several years ago, a new road and a new bridge were designed by the Indiana Department of Transportation and located downstream from the original roadway and iron bridge that was declared as unsafe.  The original roadway was at the level of the surrounding land and would be be underwater when the river swelled out of its banks.
    However, the new roadway is built up above the surrounding fields creating, for all practical purposes, a dam.  When the water rises high enough to breach the roadway, a hydraulic results on the downstream side.  That action undermines the road foundations, washing away blacktop, gravel, and rip rap from the roadway and top soil from the fields.
    Several people familiar with  road construction practices and flood water issues have told the Commissioners over the years that the roadway project was “poorly designed.”  That opinion, be it right or wrong, does not give the county any leverage for getting the funds to correct the problem.
    Saegesser went through several options for obtaining grant monies for such a project but, at least at this point in time, the Sparksville Road doesn't seem to meet requirements for those grants.
    Admitting that the problem will continue until the roadway is either rebuilt on some sort of a bridge system above the high water mark or is taken back down to the level of the surrounding fields, the Commissioners agreed to continue repairing the water damage with gravel and topsoil.  Recently, the Washington County Highway Department used $11K of gravel to repair the spring flood damage on the 1200-1500 feet of roadway affected.
    In other business, the Commissioners took the following action:
Heard from a private citizen with plans to rehab 14 acres of the old Smith Cabinet property for use as an industrial warehousing facility.
- Received an update on recent lightning damage to the county's computer system and the recovery efforts.
- Approved an amendment to a contract for services recommended by Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin.
- Heard comments for a private citizen regarding Comprehensive Land Use Planning.
- Discussed plans for a joint effort among the City of Salem, Washington County, and National City Bank to purchase three lots at the corner of Walnut and Water Streets in Salem to be eventually used as a parking lot to help provide additional space for court house workers and works of business located on or around the square.
- Heard from Julie Graham and Mike Haddon of the Washington County Health department with updates on efforts to deal with the recent discovery of mosquitoes with West Nile Virus at the fairgrounds.  
- In addition, Graham and Haddon requested that the Commissioners consider enacting an ordinance to mandate state guidelines for sanitation procedures and inspections at tatoo parlors and establishments performing body piercings.
- County Attorney Tom Scifres has agreed to look at the guidelines and report back to the Commissioners at their next meeting with a recommendation.  
- Haddon also recommended to the Commissioners that the fees for food service inspection and licenses be increased to be in line with surrounding counties.

    With no further business to discuss, the Commissioners adjourned until their joint executive session with the Board of Critical Access Health Services and the Washington County Council on September 3.  The next regularly scheduled public meeting for the Commissioners will be on Wednesday, September 16.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 September 2009 08:47