Preparation is the driving force behind road projects on Starke County 300 East through the Knox Industrial Park. Work will start next week on the reconstruction of the State Road 8 and 300 East intersection as well as on the widening of 300 East between Pacific Avenue and Culver Road.
“We’re making it attractive and possible for companies to come into Starke County to invest and to hire people. To do that we have to have the site ready,” Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Charles Weaver tells WKVI News. “We have to have a place where they can build, hence the tree project. We have to have a place that they can get access to – the road projects. We have to make it safe, because we have on these same roads school buses going down them, we’ve got tractor-trailer rigs, we’ve got personal cars, we’ve got grain trucks. It’s not safe now.”
Weaver adds the poor condition of roads through the industrial park in Knox has cost the county business.
“We had a parcel of 15 acres that was sold that would have been a $6 million investment. It would have been 45 jobs, and then the logistical people from the company came in. It was the intersection of Pacific Avenue and 300. They did not want to negotiate that, so here we are.”
Weaver says the long-term goal is to improve 300 East from State Road 8 to Culver Road as funds are available. He’s also identified a number of other roads in the county that need to be upgraded. That list includes Division Road in Knox, 500 North in Hamlet and projects in North Judson. He says the county is trying to prioritize and allocate funding as it becomes available.
The work on 300 East will start Monday, July 7th and wrap up in November.