FORTVILLE – Town officials are moving forward with actions to secure land for an envisioned road extension through Fortville’s southeast side.
The decisions are part of a long-range concept calling for the new road to serve as a corridor for future development.
Fortville Town Council approved resolutions authorizing the Fortville Redevelopment Commission to move forward with eminent domain actions for two properties in the 600 block of High Street.
Both properties are near the southeast corner of Madison Street’s intersection with East Broadway Street. The town already owns two other properties near the intersection.
Owning the properties will help allow the town to achieve its future vision of extending Madison Street south of East Broadway Street and eventually to where Fortville Pike intersects CR North 200W.
The area surrounding the future road is part of an 186-acre tax increment financing district, where taxes from new development are collected and used to improve the area in an effort to draw development. A master plan for the TIF district completed in 2017 outlines a desire for multiple uses, including manufacturing/light industrial, flex office/warehouse, commercial, mixed use, residential and open space.
The master plan calls for the road extension to consist of two 14-foot-wide travel lanes providing access to future developments with a median and flanked by multi-use paths. Room should be left for expanding the road in the future, the plan also states.
Most of the land in the TIF district is agricultural, with some rural homesteads. Almost 20 acres directly south of the land the town is preparing for eminent domain actions for is owned by Fortville 19, a limited liability company registered at an address in Indianapolis.
Adam Zaklikowski, Fortville planning and building director, noted the TIF district abuts the town’s existing business park and that another motivation for the roadway extension is to divert semitractor-trailer traffic from Broadway Street.
“The idea was to basically have this roadway extension to get the truck traffic away from that intersection, and because of the adjacent industrial park nearby, it made sense at the time to try to see how that could be developed for some good job-generating land uses for the community,” he said.
Town council members voted unanimously on the eminent domain actions for 624 High St. and 4-1 on the property containing 611-613 High St., with Tonya Davis, Fritz Fentz, Robert Holland and Libby Wyatt voting in favor and Becky Davis voting against.
Both parcels have residential properties.
Alex Intermill, Fortville town attorney, said at the council meeting that the town’s redevelopment commission has followed the law by commissioning two appraisals for each property and making offers based on the averages of both appraisals for each respective property. He added the law requires the town council to authorize moving forward with eminent domain if agreements can’t be reached.
Intermill noted the owners of 611-613 High St. have rejected the town’s offer and that he has filed a condemnation complaint against them. The owners of 624 High St. have yet to accept the certified notice of the town’s offer to them, he added.
“A lot of times, maybe even most of the time, once the condemnation action’s filed in court, you end up finding a way to reach an agreement and resolve these things,” Intermill said. “Hopefully we’ll have that in this case as well.”
The timeline on the envisioned road extension is fluid.
“A lot of it’s market-driven, in terms of who is interested in developing that farmland and when,” Zaklikowski said. “That’ll really dictate when the remainder of that road is put in, but our goal at this point is to at least get the right-of-way up to that farmland to make it more shovel-ready.”