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County okays applications for five grants

LaGrange County Council members gave their approval for matching funds for five Community Crossing Grant projects at a meeting Monday. The Community Crossing Grant program is a state program wherein the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) will match 50 percent of the cost for an approved highway infrastructure project.

Council must appropriate funds for the program before August 30. Deadline for grant submission is July 29.

County Auditor Kay Myers and Highway Superintendent Randy VanWagner have been instrumental in working on the project at the local level. They pointed out Monday that the grants can cover only construction costs, no engineering or soft costs.

When this started, there were very few applications. However, as the deadline draws near, there are many more applications. “This is now very competitive; we will be lucky to get one or possibly two projects approved,” VanWagner stated.

Projects being submitted include:

·         Bridge rehabilitation on CR 300N at the west edge of Mongo, $270,000;

·         Bridge project on CR 700S, east of CR 200W, $335,000;

·         Chip and seal various roads in the county; $104,000;

·         Reconstruction of the Mill Street/SR 3 intersection in South Milford, $290,000; and

·         Repair of CR 525E from Plato south to Wolcottville (commonly called the Woodruff Road), $390,000.

The five projects total $1.389 million. The grants could provide up to one-half of the costs for these projects. LaGrange County received $3.55 million in previously withheld income taxes this spring from the state.

Seventy-five percent of this amount is to be spent on roads and infrastructure with the remaining 25 percent allotted to other things. LaGrange County placed the 25 percent in the Rainy Day fund. Rainy Day money can be spent on anything that can be purchased through the general fund, including roads or matching grants.