The Bartholomew County Commissioners officially signed an agreement with the city on Monday as it relates to the overpass project taking vehicle traffic over the railroad at State Road 11 and Jonathan Moore Pike. The county is set to contribute $2 million dollars over the next three years.
Dave Hayward, Columbus city engineer, explained during Monday’s meeting of the Columbus Redevelopment Commission that the county commissioners signed the pledge that morning. John Dorenbush, a member of the Railroad Community Committee, explained that the county will contribute $1.5 to the railroad fund by mid-November, with the remaining $500,000 paid out over the next two-years.
The cost of the project, estimated at $30 million, will be split between the state and local governments. Of the $15 million local contribution, the downtown Cummins TIF District is expected to contribute $5 million, while CSX and the Louisville & Indiana railroad companies have reportedly pledged to cover $1.5 million. However, Dorenbush says that the city does not yet have a signed agreement from the railroads. Mayor Jim Lienhoop says that the city is working on securing the remaining funds. He, as well as Dorenbush and other city officials, indicated that they were confident that the funding will be in place well before work is slated to begin. The city is scheduled to make a payment out of the railroad fund to the Indiana Department of Transportation before the end of the year.
The Redevelopment Commission also gave its blessing for Hayward to continue his work in negotiating with an engineering firm to serve as project manager for the overpass work. While this will be an INDOT project and the state will have its own project manager, Hayward says it is important for the city to have its own project manager to keep the project moving along and to work on Columbus’ behalf. The commission agreed with Hayward that the position is necessary. Redevelopment Commission member George Dutro, who also serves on the Railroad Community Committee, says that the position is needed to ensure that the overpass is built “the Columbus way.” Don Trapp, another member of the Redevelopment Commission, said it just makes good sense having someone on-site looking out for the city’s best interests. He, as well as other city officials, have stated that the project should be aesthetically pleasing and compliment Columbus’ architecture.
No official action was taken on Hayward’s continuing work to negotiate a professional manager services contract. An update on these negotiations are expected at next month’s meeting of the redevelopment commission.