Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 13, 2013

Several projects progressing

By SHEILA SELMAN sheila.selman@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — The bridge for the south link road, improvements to C.R. 38 and a bicycle path along new C.R. 17 received attention from the Goshen Redevelopment Commission Tuesday afternoon.

South Link Road

The commissioners acted on a couple of resolutions concerning the south link road.

Commissioners agreed to pay $20,000 for design review for the bridge that will go over the Norfolk Southern Railroad Marion Branch. The bridge design is nearly complete, according to City Engineer Mary Cripe. That means the required design review by Norfolk Southern’s consultant needs to begin.

INDOT requires that the city pay for the design review up front and then it will disburse that money to Norfolk Southern’s consultant as bills comes in.

Cripe also added that in regards to the right of way acquisition for the bridge project, which will connect Regent Street and Ind. 15, the environmental document should be approved within the next couple of weeks.

Once that approval is received, then city officials can advertise for a public hearing. She anticipates that hearing occurring in early January.

Once approval is given after the public hearing, she said, the city can begin with right of way acquisition, which will include appraisal problem analysis, appraisals, review appraisals, buying and relocation activities.

As for acquisition, the redevelopment commission approved the transfer of monies in the Southeast Tax Increment Finance Fund to help pay for right of way acquisition for the south link road. The transfer also includes money for the design of the Kercher Road project from the railroad tracks to C.R. 27, Cripe said, and the money needed to pay off a contractual obligation with Forest River. The commissioners approved transferring $680,000 from the capital projects line to other services and charges line ($5,000) and contractual services line ($675,000).

Kercher Road

Goshen and Elkhart County engineering departments are working on a nearly $2 million intersection improvement project at Ind. 15 (South Main Street) and Kercher Road.

Cripe said county engineers are finalizing project plans.

City coffers are footing the majority of the bill. Redevelopment Commission president Tom Stump explained that it is between the city and redevelopment commission to come up with the nearly $2 million. “I hope we will get more from the state,” he said. “It’s a state road — it’s their project.”

Ind. 15 is under the Indiana Department of Transportation’s purvey, however, because the intersection is low on its priority list, Cripe said, the state is funding about $220,000 for construction. She, like Stump, hopes INDOT will reconsider and make that number higher.

“We basically have to do this,” she said.

During the next meeting, commissioners will lay out a strategy on how to fund the project.

Cripe said the city is ready to proceed with appraisals for right of way acquisitions. Rita Gabriel has completed the appraisal problem analysis at a cost of $2,400. City engineering has a proposal of $24,475 from Russell Appraisal Services to do the appraisals for these required parcels, she said. And Gabriel’s estimated fees for review appraisal amount to $12,625.

The commissioners approved funding the $24,475 for Russell Appraisal Services and $12,625 for Gabriel.

The properties involved include those of Yoder Property Management, Cynthia Noel, Terry D. Cobbs, Daniel and Tannice Lehman, Brian D. Kohrt, Lynne Alber, Jack and Ann Gibson, Lake City Bank, Dale and Linda Kovarik and Luke and Rebecca Gascho.

The improvements and widening of Kercher Road will go from about 50 feet west of Island View Drive and go east through Ind. 15 to the east side of the railroad tracks. Additional turn lanes on each of the four corners of the intersection will be included to allow a left turn only lane, a straight through lane and a right turn only lane.

Elkhart County is the design consultant and is bearing the expense of engineering and design work.

A public meeting on the project has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 5. No location has been set.

C.R. 17 bicycle trail

Commissioners accepted the recommendation of DLZ and the city engineering department that a new bicycle trail be constructed along the new C.R. 17 corridor.

The choice was between:

• An alignment from the intersection of Bashor Road and Reliance Road (Old C.R. 17) along Bashor Road to the new four-lane C.R. 17 corridor; or

• An alignment from the intersection of Bashor Road and Reliance Road (Old C.R. 17) north along old C.R. 17 to Peddler’s Village Road/C.R. 28, then west along Peddler’s and crossing the new C.R. 17.

By going along new C.R. 17, DLZ and engineering felt the path would increase the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians in crossing the four-lane C.R. 17 under the C.R. 17 bridge over Bashor Road/C.R. 30 vs. trying to negotiate a four-lane highway at Peddler’s.

Also, the new C.R. 17 options is about $400,000 cheaper. Cripe said she hoped at some point, that savings could be used to make a connection with Brookside Mobile Home Park. The savings came because of right of way acquisitions — one right of way acquisition for new C.R. 17 compared to 15 for old C.R. 17.

Redevelopment Commissioner Laura Coyne said in discussions with county officials, they were glad to see a bike path alongside new C.R. 17 as a safe way for people who are trying to go to work.

Cripe said the new path would be completely separate from the highway.

Other business

In other matters, commissioners:

• Approved a resolution allowing an agreement between the city and the state for bidding, construction and funding of safety improvements to six railroad crossings. Those crossings, part of a proposed quiet zone, include: New York Street, Burdick Street, Jackson Street, Plymouth Avenue, Reynolds Street and Purl Street.

The crossings will have new warning devices — crossing gates and constant warning time devices — installed.

The preliminary engineer’s construction estimate for these crossings is $1.66 million, plus design fees of $100,000, Cripe said. Ninety percent of this project will be federally funded and 10 percent will be local funds.

• Held a public hearing on a confirmatory resolution amending the boundaries of the River Race-U.S. 33 Economic Development Area. No one spoke. The commissioners then voted on the resolution and approved it unanimously. The properties, located northwest of Meijer, include Wings Etc. and the Mattress Store. Also the Old Bag Factory area bounded by North Harrison, Indiana Avenue and Chicago Avenue, will be captured.

• Entered into a consultant agreement with Lawson-Fisher Associates for a detention pond feasibility study for Steury Avenue and East Lincoln Avenue improvements. Also a model of Rock Run Creek will need to be done so city officials can determine if the detention pond will severely impact anyone downstream, Cripe said.

• Approved an amendment to an agreement with The Abonmarche Group for an additional topographic survey along the north-south alley from Madison Street to Jefferson Street. The survey information is needed for the design of a $2.2 to $2.5 million construction project.

A meeting is expected to be set in February to review the plans with residents. Construction completion is tentatively scheduled for October 2014.

• Approved a declaratory resolution amending the boundaries of the Southeast Economic Development Area. City officials are annexing property north of C.R. 40, south of Hackberry Drive, east of Corrie Drive and west of U.S. 33. One of the parcels includes a new building for Lippert Components. The other three parcels are currently agricultural but border the industrial park.

• Approved a resolution allowing an agreement with the Millrace Neighborhood for the sale, purchase and development of real estate.

• Authorized brownfield coordinator Becky Hershberger to conduct a phase II investigation into the former Douglas Dry Cleaning property, 215 Pleasant Ave. The investigation will include vapor and soil sampling and be funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.

• Authorized Hershberger to do a supplemental site investigation at the former Omnisource property. Hershberger told the commission that two areas of a trichloroethylene plume on the property still have hits. Her concern is for vapors where homes will be. The state wants additional data, so an additional $7,000 will be needed for sampling.

Follow Sheila Selman on Twitter at sselman_TGN