By Lois Mittino Gray
Mount Vernon Mayor John Tucker proudly announced at a press conference on Friday that the city has received not just one, but two, INDOT grants totaling almost 3.2 million dollars. “It may be cold outside, but it’s warm in here with this great news that will improve citizen safety and quality of life,” he began.
After traveling to Vincennes to plead his case for the grants, Tucker found out on Tues., Feb. 4 about the double award. He said just a few cities are selected to receive them and was elated that Mount Vernon was granted two.
The first grant was for $465,600 to build an access road from the Southwest Maritime Port west entrance to State Street. The road is now a grassy area that will be developed south of the Stendeback Funeral Home and Arby’s Restaurant near there. It will intersect with State Street at its junction with Indiana 62 west (Fourth Street) as a traffic light is already there.
“It is estimated that 15-20,000 fully loaded semis a year now have to turn left across four lanes of traffic to head west on 62 out of the port,” Tucker said. “This creates a safety issue and is hard for them, too.”
To avoid doing this, some semis go out the back entrance and travel through neighborhoods. “Many of them go right past a children’s playground at Kimball Park to go to the light on Kimball Street and turn left. This will be so much safer,” the mayor explained.
The second award is for $2,686,492 to complete phase three of the downtown revitalization project. The Riverfront Trail, completed in phase two along the riverfront, will be extended from Water Street north all the way up Main Street to Indiana 62 (Fourth Street). The ten foot wide blacktopped trail will be enhanced with lighting similar to that in Riverfront Park. It will be landscaped and environmentally friendly with an added small ‘pocket park.’ After all five phases are complete, the trail will eventually extend all the way to Brittlebank Park.
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