By MATT KOESTERS
The Clark County Commissioners took a step toward getting Airport Road ready for takeoff at their meeting Thursday.
The commissioners voted unanimously to enter into a contract with Beam, Longest and Neff LLC, an Indianapolis-based engineering company, for preliminary design and environmental work to determine the route for Airport Road, which would run directly from the Clark County Regional Airport to River Ridge Commerce Center.
“The Airport Road itself is going to open up development when the new [east-end] bridge comes in,” said Commissioner Rick Stephenson. “We’ve got so much going on in River Ridge right now, it’s phenomenal.”
The cost of the preliminary work has not yet been determined, but Commissioner John Perkins estimated that it would be less than $100,000.
“We haven’t gone that far yet,” Stephenson said. “We’ve just gone for the actual preliminary study, and they’re going to work up the cost and give it to us later.”
“This is a major step forward in this Airport Road project,” Perkins said. “I’ve been pushing for this thing for two years, even before I was a commissioner.”
The preliminary engineering work may help get the project approved for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER, grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation, Perkins said.
“We think we can get anything from a $10 million to $15 million grant,” Perkins said. “That’s what we’re going after.”
The project also would be funded by credits the county has with the Indiana Department of Transportation. The county received the INDOT credits in exchange for taking over 18 miles of roads from the state last year.
ORDINANCES TO GO ONLINE
Similar to what several Clark County municipalities have already done, the commissioners took action to make sure that the county’s ordinances are codified and put online for easy public use.
The commissioners contracted with American Legal Publishing to do the work, which will be completed in about six months and go live on the county’s websites about six weeks after that. The commissioners paid about $12,900 for the task.
Stephenson said the move is part of a campaign promise he and fellow Republican Commissioner Jack Coffman made on the campaign trail in 2012 for greater government transparency.
“With the contract that we entered into today, every ordinance that we have in existence will be digitized and searchable,” Stephenson said.
Perkins said he would like to see planning and zoning ordinances brought current to help residents understand the history of properties in the county.
“I think those would be important ordinances to have in an ordinance book to make sure that there’s a documented historical record of when something was zoned and how it was zoned,” he said.