SOUTH MADISON COUNTY — In what is the largest grant for a road project in town history, Lapel recently received $699,438 from Indiana Department of Transportation’s Community Crossings Matching Grant program.
Town council President Chad Blake said the amount, when combined with a town match of $233,161, will add up to significant improvement of local roads.
“Between nearly $1 million in road projects and $4.7 million in water projects, 2021 is going to be a very busy year for Lapel,” Blake wrote in an email.
The roadwork will involve 2.23 miles of Lapel streets, including County Roads 200 South, 950 West (Brookside Road) and 500 South (Alliance Road). Also included are Vine Street, 10th Street, Ash Way, Beechwood Drive, Briar Drive and Oakmont Drive.
The water projects Blake mentioned (reported previously in The Times-Post) have been in discussion for some time and involve upgrades and other work to an existing water treatment plant, elevated storage tank and installation of new water mains at various locations through town. The town is seeking grant funds from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) for that work.
The largest single part of the new roadwork project involves a more than half-mile stretch of County Road 500 South east of State Road 13. It is the most costly portion of the project — involving total reconstruction of the road, Blake said — with an estimated cost of $214,400.
Other parts of the project include:
• Two areas on County Road 950 West, from County Road 300 South to the Brookside Park south entrance and from the railroad tracks to State Road 13.
• Beechwood Drive and Briar Drive, both from Ash Way to 150 feet east of Oakmont Drive. Oakmont Drive and Ash Way will be paved from Beechwood Drive to Briar Drive.
• County Road 200 South, from Vine Street to the town limits. Vine Street will be paved from the Woodward Park south entrance to County Road 200 South. Tenth Street will be worked on from Main Street to Walnut Street.
Blake said the hope is for roadwork to begin in the spring.
The state also announced recently that Pendleton will receive $317,416 of Community Crossings funds.
Pendleton and Lapel are among 241 Indiana cities, towns and counties that received a combined $101 million in state matching funds this month for local road projects.
Pendleton town manager Scott Reske said Pendleton’s state funds, which will be paired with about $307,000 in local funds, will enable the town to address flooding in a several-block stretch downtown.
“We’re reconstructing Water Street basically from Pendleton Avenue to East Street. And then we’re putting in a new (storm)water line basically from Caroline Street to the park,” where it will connect to an existing stormwater line near the pond, Reske said.
Along Water Street, the town also will add lateral lines so “people can hook up their sump pumps, and yard drains and gutters,” Reske said.
The local funds will pay for 25% of the project’s construction costs; all of the design costs for the project; and all of the cost to install the stormwater line that runs north from Water Street to the hookup point near the pond (work that is ineligible for the grant funds).
“There has been, for decades, flooding there on Water Street,” Reske said.
“Eventually, in the long- range plan, we’re going to connect some other lines to this one that we’re improving on Water Street, so (the project) is not only hitting our most immediate problem but it also is in conjunction with some of our long-range plans for improving the stormwater issues around this side of town.”
The town also has started design work on reconstructing Franklin Street between State and Taylor streets.
“That’s due to, there was so much damage done from the trees uprooting from the storm, the (2019 Memorial Day) tornado,” Reske said. “We’re hoping to get the same type of funding for this street.
“We’re probably going to know in February when that (Community Crossings grant) call out is going to be, and we’re going to put Franklin Street in for that.”
That project will include curbs and gutters, he said, to alleviate basement flooding along Franklin Street, as well as improvements to stormwater lines, to help with flooding at State and Adams streets.
For some stormwater components of the projects, the plan is to borrow money from the town’s water utility and pay it back using money collected via a stormwater fee under development, Reske said.
A stormwater fee for property owners is slated for town council agendas in January and February, he said.
A rate study is under way by the firm Baker Tilly, a public accounting and consulting firm, to determine a suggested fee given the work that’s needed.
Reske said a fee is necessary because the town’s stormwater system is in a critical state of disrepair, which is responsible for flooding issues throughout town that could get worse.
“We do have a problem,” he said. “There aren’t any major lines in Pendleton that haven’t collapsed.
Through tests, such as ones that use dyes to track water’s course, flow is not going where expected.
“I don’t know how water is working its way out of town,” he said.
The town will solicit bids for the Water Street project in late winter/early spring, Reske said, while the Franklin Street project could go out for bids in late spring.
Both projects might end up being done in summer 2021, Reske said.
Ingalls and Markleville, which have received Community Crossings funds in the past, did not receive funding in this round.
Madison County received $994,354 this round, which Madison County Highway Department head Scott Harless said will be spent on road and bridge work throughout the county.
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To qualify for Community Crossings funding, local governments must provide local matching funds, 50% for larger communities or 25% for smaller communities, from a funding source approved for road and bridge construction. They must also submit an INDOT-approved asset management plan for maintaining existing roads and bridges. State law requires annually that 50% of the available matching funds be awarded to communities within counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer. State lawmakers identified long-term funding for Community Crossings as part of House Enrolled Act 1002, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb in April 2017.
The list of all communities receiving matching funds in the 2020 summer/fall call for projects is online at www.in.gov/indot/communitycrossings.