The Knox County Commissioners on Tuesday entered into an inter-local agreement with officials in Freelandville that will lead to several roads being repaved.
The agreement is between the commissioners and members of the Freelandville Regional Sewer District's board of directors and has to do with leftover funds from a federal grant previously secured by the district.
Several streets were damaged and need resurfaced due to the installation of a new wastewater collection and treatment system last year. Just over $151,000 remains from the federal grant that paid for those improvements, but since the county's highway department has the manpower and equipment needed to more easily do that road work, the commissioners agreed to the inter-local agreement.
The sewer district will hand give the money to the county and highway superintendent Benji Boyd will see that the roads damaged during the project are repaved.
“Essentially, they'll give us the money, and we'll fix up the streets per our own specifications,” said commission president Kellie Streeter, who is also a resident of Freelandville.
“It's really a win-win for everybody,” she said. “They get new streets but not at the expense of our (Motor Vehicle Highway) fund. I personally can't wait, and neither can the people in Freelandville.”
Commissioner Trent Hinkle thought it a “great thing” when county elected officials can work with the unincorporated towns on projects like this.
“And we appreciate (Boyd) doing the work to make all this happen,” he said.
Commissioners hope to see the paving done by the end of the year.
The road improvements will bring an end to a now 5-year endeavor.
Officials in Freelandville in 2014 received a $6.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to build a new wastewater treatment plant, a project nearly two decades in the works. It took another two years to work to actually begin.
Freelandville has been working toward constructing a wastewater treatment center since 2002, when long-standing concerns about the quality of water were matched by contamination reports from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
IDEM told community leaders that they must build a plant that would be in compliance with state regulations or face a new facility built to the state's specifications on the community's dollar.
In 2009, the town received a $30,000 planning grant and an additional $3,500 from the commissioners to work on a six-month engineering study. The sewer district formed in 2011 to act as a unified voice for the over 200 households in town and push the project forward.