New Castle City Council member Jerry Walden has been staying busy. He’s been digging deeper into the Henry County Comprehensive Plan and looking at ways to make New Castle and Henry County a more desirable place to be.
Walden’s goal: Add a fourth interstate exit at Interstate 70 and State Road 103.
Walden spoke to the Henry County Commissioners about the issue on Wednesday evening.
According to the Henry County Comprehensive Plan, a fourth interstate interchange at I-70/SR 103 (New Castle/Lewisville) would offer additional opportunities for the future growth and development of Henry County.
“Land at this proposed interchange should be reserved for the type of development(s) that have the ability to ‘welcome’ residents and visitors to Henry County,” the comp plan continues. “In order to ensure that each of the county’s interstate interchanges existing and future reflect the county’s overarching vision, the county must plan and then put in place protective measures to ensure that future development at each of the county’s existing interchanges is the highest and best use for the land.”
Walden has brought this to multiple local and state officials.
Walden told the commissioners, “We’re at a point where we need some background help. SR 103 is the only State Road in all of Indiana that intersects an interstate that doesn’t have an exchange. SR 103 connects US 40 to SR 38 to SR 36. It brings you to our airport, industrial sites in New Castle. It takes you through the heart of downtown New Castle and goes by our local hospital.
“Myself, EDC President Corey Murphy and fellow councilmen Aaron Dicken took it upon ourselves to meet with the state leadership to gain information on what steps we needed to take,” Walden continued. “We met with Congressman (Greg) Pence’s staff representative to gain federal information, went before the City Council, County Commissioners and the County Council to share this information and now it is time for others to get involved in the process within the county leadership.”
“I think we should continue to talk about it. Study it. Before we make a decision,” EDC President Corey Murphy said.
State Representative Tom Saunders was at Wednesday’s commissioner meeting.
“We have got to make sure that we look at what exactly we are going to do with each interchange in each town,” Saunders said.
“It’s time to take this seriously. This isn’t an opportunity for me personally,” Walden finished. “It’s one for the City of New Castle and Lewisville and Henry County. It would also give Corey another tool to use in his tool-bag for residential expansion or industrial expansion. We are hoping the county, state, and INDOT (Indiana Dept. of Transportation) will get involved.”