The City of Hobart hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday to celebrate the completion of the final phase of their 61st Avenue Expansion Project. This $12.5 million project spanned approximately 1.5 miles of roadway from Arizona Street to State Road 51 and aimed to provide an improved transportation corridor from Interstate 65 to S.R. 51.
Dawn Hostetler, Assistant to the Director of Development, summed up the reason for the celebration. “This has been a long time coming so we’re out here to celebrate that and all the people who had a part in the project,” she explained.
To begin the celebration, Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor took the podium and welcomed everyone to the ceremony. He began with some remarks regarding the completion of the project and its significance for the community.
“Today the 61st Avenue Expansion Project officially becomes the new major artery bringing the life blood of the future's progress to our city. We will enjoy economic growth that will drive our city through its next phases and years of development,” said Mayor Snedecor.
The roadway is a major artery into the city, and the goal was to create something welcoming, well-lit, and scenic as people entered the community to enjoy the businesses and features that the City of Hobart offers.
Many people were thanked for their involvement in the project and an emphasis was placed on the amount of teamwork and dedication this project required. The project itself was one of the most complicated capital improvement projects undertaken by the City of Hobart. The city also received over $9 million in federal funds over several years to complete the project.
City of Hobart Director of Development Denarie Kane was responsible for getting much of the funding and expressed her appreciation for the amount of teamwork that went into making this project a reality.
“I was responsible for gathering the federal funds and being sure that INDOT regulations were complied with. Eighty percent of this was funded through federal grants,” said Kane. “We’re gathered here today not only to celebrate the completion of this project, but also to honor all the work that went into it.”
Work and cooperation were paramount to the success of this improvement project. Anchoring one end of the project at S.R. 51 is St. Mary Medical Center, which will directly benefit from the project.
Janice Ryba, CEO of St. Mary Medical Center, spoke to the crowd, relating the benefits this corridor will provide for the community, including the hospital.
“This expansion provides direct access for our emergency department from 61st Avenue, which is critical to us and makes a lifesaving difference for many patients,” Ryba said. “Expanding this corridor will attract further development and future progress in the years to come.”
Mayor Snedecor also commented on the importance of the corridor and how the design, including the roundabout, looks to the future.
“It is the gateway to our community and medical facilities,” said Mayor Snedecor. “I’ve gotten some questions on why we put a roundabout at a 3-way intersection, but we’re preparing for future growth and that to become a 4-way intersection. If I didn’t look for that growth presently, I would be doing the city a disservice.”
The completion of this project marks the end of a longstanding project, but the beginning of a large amount of growth and opportunity for the Hobart community.
Information on the project can be found by visiting the City’s website at www.cityofhobart.org or www.hobart61.com.