VINCENNES, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Housing. Infrastructure. Investment in broadband internet.

These were just some of the topics discussed by Knox County officials on Wednesday as they addressed millions of dollars in projects that are coming in 2022 as part of an event hosted by the Knox County Chamber of Commerce.

The mayor of Bicknell Thomas Estabrook, Vincennes Mayor Joe Yocum and county commissioner Kellie Streeter all touched on different topics, and answered questions on how their offices work together to help bring investment into the county.

A main theme from the meeting was road repairs. Each member mentioned the state’s Community Crossings program, which has invested hundred of thousands of dollars in communities around Knox County over the last several years. Estabrook said a state-funded project will bring $2 million worth of repairs to State Road 67 in Bicknell.

“They are going to put sidewalk on the south side of the highway, from Family Dollar to just about the Dollar General on the far end of town,” he said. “This is inside city limits. We will put in new curb, new drainage boxes, reconfigure all the traffic lights, and of course they will pave at the end of it, so it’s a total reconstruction of one of the main thoroughfares.” 

Construction will begin sometime in late spring or early summer, according to Estabrook. He said this is a project years in the making.

“There’s a lot of foot traffic along the highway, along with vehicle traffic,” he said. “There’s no sidewalk on the highway, and we were looking to figure out a way to see that investment be completed. We approached INDOT several years ago about the possibility of doing that, and after a lot of conversations and a lot of meetings, they came to the same conclusion we did.”

Yocum discussed how the city of Vincennes was planning to spend over $3 million in federal funding. He said there would be over a million dollars to a new water tower, housing projects and the city’s HELP program, which has a focus on community wellness.

“Our [American Rescue Plan Act] dollars are going towards a water tower, $1.5 million. $1 million is going towards our redevelopment commission, towards housing to help our infrastructure,” he said. “And then, $1,150,000 is going towards our help designation program that we got.”

Yocum said housing was a strong need in the area.

“If we’re going to grow our population, we have to have housing. We’re no different than any other community. Everybody is short on housing, and we’re just stepping up and trying to invest in that to make sure we meet those needs in Vincennes,” he said.

Streeter touched on one of the county’s upcoming projects– figuring out what will happen with the county’s old community corrections building.

“We have, for several years, been fighting for space for certain departments. A meeting space, a library, things like that, so we’ll start the process now instead of waiting to figure out what that space can hold and what it might look like in the future,” she said.

Overall, all three expressed satisfaction with the event, and said they would like to participate in more community forums in the future.

“Events like these, where so many individuals from so many different backgrounds can hear what’s really going on in their government, and understanding how they can contact us, it’s invaluable,” Streeter said.

The final forum hosted by the chamber in their “State of” series will focus on workforce.