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Road widening drives land purchases

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GREENFIELD — The city of Greenfield is paying thousands of dollars for property to expand Franklin Street south of Main Street.

The street, used primarily now by industrial traffic, will become a three-lane road from Main Street to Tague Street; the two driving lanes will be widened and a center turn lane will be added. Franklin Street will remain two lanes from Tague Street to Davis Road, but the driving lanes will be widened.

Construction is expected to begin next spring. The Greenfield Board of Works Tuesday approved the purchase of several pieces of property as right-of-way for the project.

“People that go to the north side of Greenfield, a lot of them use Franklin Street instead of Ind. 9,” said Mike Fruth, engineer for the city.

Because the street will be widened, Fruth said several pieces of property had to be purchased. While most of the properties approved Tuesday were appraised at between $4,000 and $9,000, the city paid $92,980 to Fisk Services Inc. for land, relocation of fencing and gates, new parking and the demolition of a radio tower.

“We did have some concerns (about the changes to the property), but I don’t think we had a lot of latitude there,” said Dennis Fisk, vice president of Fisk Services. “I think the city is going to do what it’s going to do.”

Fisk said company employees are no longer using the radio tower; the main form of communication has switched to cell phones.

Additional parking will have to be added to a nearby grassy area of Fisk Services, he said. While he would rather the property had been left the way it was, Fisk said the expansion of Franklin Street is probably a good idea.

He said in addition to his business, Republic Services and the city, county and state highway departments also use the road heavily. It’s tight to turn the corner onto U.S. 40 with large trucks, he added.

Several years ago when the city was considering official bypass routes to Ind. 109, Franklin Street from the north side of the city to Davis Road was one of the routes under consideration.

The Franklin Street expansion was one of several projects identified in the 2006 thoroughfare plan update. The project, including construction and right-of-way costs, will be funded by 80 percent federal money and 20 percent local street improvement funds.

Fruth said in addition to industrial truck traffic, there are also residents who use the roadway and it’s becoming a major thoroughfare through town.

While the properties purchased Tuesday were primarily land, last month the board purchased a building at 222 S. Franklin entirely for the project for about $75,000.

Bob’s Auctions is a tenant in the building, but Fruth said the owner wanted to sell the building entirely because it’s close to the road and part of it would have had to be removed.

Fruth said the building will likely be demolished, and the city will sell the property when the construction project is completed.

There are about six more properties yet to be purchased. Fruth expects the entire purchase of right-of-way to cost about $500,000. The construction estimate for the road expansion is $2.2 million.

Mayor Dick Pasco said while purchasing right-of-way is costly now, it’ll be worth it in the end with an expanded roadway.

“There’s a lot of truck traffic that goes up and down there, and the road is in bad shape to start with,” Pasco said. “We’ve quick-fixed it 20 years. Let’s try to improve it to get things running smoother.”

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