The Clinton County Council put the finishing touches on a long-awaited project by approving the funding out to the interchange at Interstate 65 and State Road 28 for water and wastewater Tuesday morning.
“It has been over a two-year process getting this done,” said County Council President Alan Dunn. “We have two sections of the project (water and wastewater). .We consider them together but they’re actually funded separately. The total cost of the project is over $16 million and that’s going to be paid over 30 years.”
This interchange is one of the last remaining in the state of Indiana with very little development there. That is expected to change once the infrastructure is in place.
“Since the interlocal agreement was signed, we’ve had a number of large industrial prospects, we’ve had two hotels and we’ve had a number of restaurants inquiring about space out there at the interchange,” said Dunn. “We’re going through the process of getting all the easements and land acquisitions. As soon as that is completed, we’ll start moving dirt. The plan is designed and it’s ready to go.
In the past, one of the major hangups about Frankfort acquiring mainstream restaurants, hotels and big businesses has been the 20,000 population threshold that the town has fallen short of. With the new infrastructure, Dunn said that becomes a mute point.
“They’re no longer worried about a 20,000 population in the city of Frankfort,” said Dunn. “They’re worried about the hundreds of thousands of people that are coming up and down that interstate everyday. So, it makes it a much more regional location and kind of breaks that tether that might have left Frankfort as a city itself kind of locked down through our population limitations.”
Dunn added another reason is because the proximity to Lebanon and Lafayette changes the dynamics for businesses to locate there.
The council also approved a 0.2% corrections local income tax increase. Dunn explains the rationale behind that.
“The purpose of that tax is not only to fund corrections or jail operations but what it allows us to do is free up money from our general fund that can then be used to pay the debt service payments on a bond issue,” he said.