|Local entities receive more than $1,095,300 to improve roads and bridges|
Tony McClellan, INDOT deputy commissioner for the Seymour district was in town to present local governmental agencies with grant money.
The grants were part of the state’s Community Crossings Grant Funds.
Washington County will receive $1,000,000 and the city of Salem will recieve $95,300.
Since those totals had to be matched, that means $2,000,000 will be spent on improvements to county roads and more than $180,000 will be spent on city road improvements.
Pam Hasty, who is office manager, at the County Highway Department said she will have a list of projects that will be completed with the money after a meeting on Sept. 12 at the Seymour district.
She did say there were 17 projects that will likely be worked on thanks to the additional money.
Salem Mayor Troy Merry provided a list to those who were at a presentation by INDOT on Aug. 25.
He said work will be done on High, Cobble and Webb streets. Arthur Street to Martingsburg Road is another project Merry said would be done.
“Then we are going to do some other things, because this (grant money) relieved us, to help us take the money we had in the budget for paving and extend that.”
Some of those additional projects will include work on Homer Street and High Street.
“High Street will be done from Highway (56) to Highway (60) and when you come on to Brick Street there will be a smooth transition,” he said.
McClellan said the state is planning a similar grant program for 2017 and Merry said any remaining money will be used to help secure those additional grant funds.
“I have another project that I want to work on for next year, but it’s going to take some time to figure out how we are going to do it, because there may be some historical things involved,” he said. “I want to hold some funds back for that big project. I don’t want to get everyone’s hopes up so I won’t announce it yet.”
The local match portion of the grant came from a refund city, towns, and counties received from the state.
Hasty said the county got a refund in tax money in the amount of $980,000. Salem also used money from the special distribution for their part of the match. In total Salem recived more than $480,000 for the distribution, 25% of which went into the general fund, which left $362,452
That was a welcome sight, but she noted that if the county wants to recieve any of the money that will be available in 2017, they will have to find places to get that match from.
“It’s doubltful the state is going to come back and give us more money next year,” she said.
McClellan said there was a $1,000,000 cap for entities applying for grants.
“Legislature passed legislation for this grant cycle and we are pretty sure we we will have one for next year, we just don’t know how much yet,” he said. “We anticipate at least one more year after that.
“This is a new approach where the legislature is taking these dollars and is applying them. So we are looking at this as a model, where maybe locals can get work done with state dollars instead of federal dollars.”
McClellan wanted to make sure that everyone knew how big a role legislators and the governor played into making the funding possible.
One of the supporters of the legislation was State Representative, Steve Davisson (R-Salem). He said he knows these funds will be put to good use.
“The fixes and upgrades made with these grants can be anything from making practical design improvements to bridges or adding structures such as roundabouts to certain roadways,” Davisson said. “The Community Crossings program will help to address the immediate road-funding needs of local roads and bridges, and the General Assembly will meet next session to determine the best long-term solutions.”
For more information on the grant and to see what other communities in the area received funds, see the story inside this section of the paper.