Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 25, 2013

Big effort pays off

Kokomo Tribune

---- — As the area celebrated the completion of the Hoosier Heartland Corridor on Wednesday, the state’s spotlight was most assuredly on Logansport.

City and area leaders enjoyed the well-deserved accolades of officials and communities from all around the state.

Even with the spotlight shining bright, leaders didn’t shy away from the fact there was no shortage of people who thought Cass County and other area residents were crazy in their relentless pursuit of this roadway. In fact, they owned it.

In addressing the crowd gathered at Logansport’s Ivy Tech campus, former Congressman Steve Buyer explained there was a method to the madness seen throughout the history of this project.

Yes, they built bridges to nowhere. When the money was there, they went for it. To outsiders, it may have seemed they closed their eyes and swung. But to those who spent a good chunk of their lives pursuing the dream that is the Hoosier Heartland Corridor, they knew exactly what they were doing.

If they could only build one section at a time, then they would build one section at a time. And so it went for decades.

Business leaders and elected officials worked tirelessly on the project. A group called the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Corridor Inc. campaigned both in Indiana and in Washington to secure the funding to complete the $320 million project.

The naysayers watched as bridges to nowhere slowly but surely turned into the realization of a collective dream. One part of that dream was to save lives. Entirely too many lives were lost along the old stretch of Ind. 25 from Delphi to Lafayette. The drive along the new highway will now be considerably faster, and safer.

Another part of that dream was to build a road that would fuel growth. There’s now a 35-mile, four-lane, limited-access, divided highway providing access from Lafayette to Logansport.

And as Gov. Mike Pence told the crowd gathered at Ivy Tech Wednesday, this road will mean jobs for the area.

“If you’re going to be the Crossroads of America,” he said, “You better have the roads to back it up.”

Cass and Carroll counties most certainly are backing it up, and then some.

Even though the road is completed — minus a few tweaks here and there — don’t expect those same business leaders and elected officials to take a break now. In fact, we’re certain we’ll see them kicking into high gear now.

Now the hunt for economic growth along the corridor begins, and we fully expect to see those same forward-thinking business leaders and elected officials driving it home.