County, communities shut out for INDOT funding

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

Dubois County, nor did any community in the county, receive funding through the latest round of the Community Crossings grant program.

“It was a shocker,” said Tom Lueken, street and property superintendent for the Town of Ferdinand. “If it would have been one community left out, that would be one thing. But the whole county? That seemed strange.”

Ferdinand submitted requests four paving projects. Officials asked for $301,588 of the $402,117 cost to pave Scenic Industrial Drive; $82,929 of the $110,572 needed to pave 21st Street; $73,780 of the $98,373 cost to pave 20th Street (town match: $24,593) and $15,318 of the $20,425 needed to pave Krampe Drive.

In addition, the town partnered with Dubois County in applying for $307,897 of the $410,529 needed to pave Ferdinand’s Industrial Park Road.

“I was very surprised they weren’t funded, especially the partnership one,” Lueken said. “[State officials] say that if you do a partnership, that normally scores higher.”

Lueken said he and others have called the Indiana Department of Transportation distributor of the grants to find out why their applications were denied. “We were told that our applications did qualify, but they ran out of money,” he said.

That is the reason INDOT spokesman Scott Manning gave as well.

“This year’s Community Crossings grant was highly competitive,” he said via email. “The state received about $137 million more in funding requests than dollars available to award, so there were some communities this year that submitted good applications, but weren’t able to receive funding.”

Along with the Industrial Road project, the county submitted four other requests. Those included $244,362 of the $325,816 needed to pave County Road 1025E from State Road 64 to State Road 164; $229,083.75 of the $305,445 needed to pave County Road 100S from County Roads 600W to 650W, and County Road 650W from County Roads 100S to 300S; $234,590.25 of the $312,787 needed to pave County Road 550S between State Road 162 and Club Road; and $10,693.50 of the $14,258 needed to install motion-activated signs will be placed at the intersection of County Roads 100S and 600W.

Tara Damin of Cash Waggner & Associates is researching the reasons why Dubois County and its communities did not receive funding this time around, she told the Dubois County Commissioners Monday morning.

Damin also helped the City of Huntingburg submit its three funding requests: $90,105.37 of the $120,144.50 needed to mill and pave 14th Street between U.S. 231 and Chestnut Street; $233,495.25 of the $311,327 needed to improve the intersection of 14th and Chestnut streets, including installing curbs, gutters and sidewalks; and $54,842.85 of the $73,123.80 needed to pave Chestnut Street between 12th and 19th streets. The city has already completed the projects and was hoping to receive some of that money back through the grant.

Damin mentioned that she has been in contact with state legislators on the matter, and will report back to the county once she has completed her research.

Jasper is looking at its next step for the project it submitted: $209,198.58 to help with the $418,397.16 cost to rebuild 12th Avenue from U.S. 231 to Kimball Blvd.

“We haven’t decided what to do yet,” Street Superintendent Jeff Theising said. “An option is to reapply. But we need to meet and talk about that.”

Communities can resubmit applications in the next funding round, which is early next year. They would find out the results of that round in March.

“The next call for applications for Community Crossings is also less than two months away,” Manning said. “The next call will be in early January, so communities will have another opportunity to pursue matching funds very quickly, well before the start of the 2019 construction season.”

That is what Ferdinand plans to do. “We are going to resubmit them and hope for a better outcome,” Lueken said. “Maybe we’ll get 100 percent funded next time. But it’s a waiting game.”

One good thing is that the next round will go through before the next construction season is in full swing.

“If we don’t get anything come March, either we will be on pause,” Lueken said, “or we will have to do our own little thing with the money we were going to use as the match.” That would be the 25 percent the town was required to have to add to any state funding received.

“We are hoping that we don’t have to go to that plan B yet,” he said. “We want to do this right.”




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