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Commissioners discuss intersection safety issues

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@h-ponline.com

The Huntington County Board of Commissioners met Monday morning and discussed the need to meet with a worker from Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) regarding the intersection at 9 and 100 north.

Troy Hostetler, highway superintendent, brought the board an update on the intersection which has caused multiple fatal accidents.

Hostetler told the board that Todd Johnson, deputy commissioner with INDOT, was working on a traffic study which will be completed within the next 3-4 weeks, and will make a decision from there.

County Commissioner Tom Wall said he did not like this idea, as a traffic study had already been completed 4-5 years ago. He said they have offered to put a flashing red light at the intersection at their expense, and he does not want to wait four more weeks.

Wall added that there have been two major accidents in that area within the last week alone, and a resident who lives in the area is ready to call Channel 21 news to report it to them.

“We’ve done everything as far as county commissioners to do this, and he wants to count how many vehicles that go through there,” Wall said.

Wall went on to say that the area has now been slowed down to 45 mph due to construction, so many people will be bypassing the intersection anyway, making the traffic study flawed.

“I don’t like his decision. I think we need to move forward and get this done, and he needs to react quickly,” he said.

Hostetler told the board that Johnson had also said he’s willing to meet with the board to discuss the issue. Commissioner Rob Miller told Hostetler the meeting would be critical. The board said they want to plan on meeting with Johnson at the next meeting.

The board also met with Huntington County Public Safety Dispatch Director, Melissa Taylor, again, to continue discussing the dispatch phone and radio options.

Huntington Police dispatch radios and phones have been periodically failing, and even though they have signed a five year service agreement with J&K. Taylor said they have begun looking at other options that could potentially be more effective.

HCPSD told the board they have looked into switching to Motorola. For the phone system, this would be for ten years with a hardware refresh after five years, meaning they would receive new phones and consoles. The radios would also be for 10 years, but they do include a small maintenance fee.

The downside is that they just recently signed the five year contract with J&K that is supposed to last until 2023 and paid the $170,259 upfront. County Attorney Bob Garrett said that they will probably not be able to get the money back, even with the lack of quality service.

The board and HCPSD plan to continue reviewing their options.

In other news, Department of Community Development’s Marla Stambazze brought an unsafe property to the board’s attention. The house, located on Wayne Road in Warren, has been foreclosed after the owners’ deaths.

The owners’ daughter told Stambazze that PNC foreclosed the house, but Stambazze said PNC is not listed.

Stambazze showed pictures of the property to the board and said they don’t have a recommendation at the moment, but if they tear it down, it will be costly.

She adds that she does have a citizen complaint on the property.

“If I was the neighbor I wouldn’t want to look at it. The yard is never mowed. It’s in bad shape,” she said.

She and the board plan to ask for enforcement within the next two weeks. If they do not hear back, they will plan to move forward and make a decision.

The next commissioners meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 23.