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Last updated: Thu. Jul. 24, 2014 - 08:22 am EDT

County eyes improvements to Maplecrest-Adams Center corridor

Development needed to pay for earlier $40 million project

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A $40 million road project that has improved traffic flow but failed to generate the hoped-for jobs and investment is being targeted for a major upgrade even though there are no current plans or dollars to make it happen.

That is, in fact, why the Allen County Commissioners Friday are expected to approve a contract worth up to $210,000 with American Structurepoint Inc., which will provide engineering services for the possible widening and improvement of Adams Center Road from Indiana 930 south to Interstate 469.

County spokesman Mike Green said having plans in place could make the project more attractive should state or federal funding suddenly become available, as it did earlier this year when the General Assembly unexpectedly provided $30 million to improve Lafayette Center Road between the General Motors plant and U.S. 24 in Roanoke.

Adams Center Road connects with Maplecrest Road, which two years ago was extended from Lake Avenue south across the Maumee River to Indiana 930. As The News-Sentinel reported in May, the Maplecrest extension carries more than twice the number of vehicles originally anticipated but has so far not attracted new investment along the corridor, especially sections of Adams Center Road already zoned for industrial use.

That's important, because taxes generated by economic growth were supposed to pay off the $25 million bond sold to finance construction. The special taxing area collected just $12,589 last year instead of the projected $60,400, however, and more will be needed in the coming years to meet the bond's annual $1.85 million payment.

If the taxes don't materialize, the county will have to repay the bond with revenues from other sources, possibly leaving less money to build or maintain other bridges.

Although the engineering isn't specifically intended to promote economic development along the corridor, Commissioner Nelson Peters said the county does hope any eventual improvements will both improve traffic and create jobs, investment -- and taxes.

The county also owns 100 acres near Adams Center and Paulding Road. That land had been envisioned as a training facility by Sheriff Ken Fries, but few improvements have been made and the property could be made available for development, Peters has said.

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