Starke County meets to discuss future of U.S. 30

NOW: Starke County meets to discuss future of U.S. 30


STARKE COUNTY, Ind. -- Starke County is holding a public meeting tonight to discuss the future of U.S. 30, a stretch of highway they hope to reconstruct in order to bring business to the community.

The highway caught the eye of the U.S. 30 Coalition, who on it’s website writes it is an “advocacy group charged with upgrading U.S. 30 to a freeway” that stretches across the Midwest.

Ron Gifford, assistant executive director of Starke County Economic Development Foundation, said the group and various counties want to work together to bring this region out of the shadows.

“Right now we’re sort of out of the loop on a lot of the projects that are looking at Indiana,” Gifford said. “U.S. 30 will become an area where more and more companies will at least want to consider being able to locate somewhere along there or near there.”

According to the coalition, the proposed plan will bring in $959 million, creating 10,572 new jobs for people in the community.

“I think that people would embrace it,” said Jesse Harden, a Knox native. “I think it will promote growth, we’ll have a lot more people come down with their trucks and stuff if they have an on-ramp to the freeway.”

However, both Harden and Gifford agree that this plan could disrupt the work of local farmers, whose land runs to the North and South of U.S. 30 causing them to cross the highway multiple times a day with farm equipment.

“We feel like we can listen to our local people, tell us what this will do to them, try to solve those kinds of issues for them,” Gifford said. “And then be able to go to INDOT as a seven person county and say this is what’s best for Starke county.”

The proposed plan is far from a vote. Wednesday evening’s meeting was mainly put on in order to introduce the public to the plan and get feedback.

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