Road commission sells property on Ruggles Road

RC receives grant funding for road projects, including potential roundabout

CENTREVILLE — A property the St. Joseph County Road Commission purchased earlier this year was officially sold by the agency Wednesday.

The property, located on the corner of Ruggles Road and Mohney Lake Road, was sold for $229,900, about $6,000 less than they originally paid for it earlier this year.

The Road Commission board originally approved buying the property on Feb. 16 for $235,900 because of the potential for gravel deposits, in hopes of reducing costs to import gravel for road projects. However, Manger John Lindsey and Engineer Garrett Myland reported during the board’s May 18 meeting that soil borings performed on the property came back with no gravel found.

“We went out there for the soil borings, and in the report, it says there were traces of gravel. What that means is they found one or two rocks that are super-tiny,” Myland said back in May. “It’s sandy, there’s no clay in it that could help us with the production of gravel.”

Lindsey said back in May the road commission offered a clause in the contract that the land purchase be contingent on finding gravel, but the clause was pulled from the final offer.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Lindsey said they originally had a $225,000 offer, after another offer two months prior at $220,000. After conversations with Mike Himes, the realtor for the property, the offer was eventually increased to the $229,900.

Although they would be taking a $6,000 loss on the property, Road Commission Board Vice Chair Rodney Chupp said that he had “no problem whatsoever” with taking that hit.

“We bought land that we paid a prime rate for because we thought it would be a long-term solution for gravel. If it takes us three more tries at five-grand a piece before we find the right piece of property, it’d be worth it,” Chupp said. “The long-term benefit, when we find gravel, will offset this hit many, many, many times over.”

Board member Jack Coleman said the property was a “risk/reward” situation, and said the risk was “minimal.” Board Chair Eric Shafer said he hopes the road commission will be able to find gravel in the future.

“We need to find that gravel pit, and if it takes doing some exploration to get there, then that’s what we’re going to do,” Shafer said.

In other business…

  • Myland reported that the road commission received High Risk Rural Roads grants for multiple projects: A project at the intersection of Millard Road and Roberts Road, the Lutz Road widening project, and a proposed roundabout project for the intersection of Lutz Road and Centreville-Constantine Road. The Millard/Roberts grant is $200,000 with the road commission matching $20,000, and will realign the roads, adjust grades, and change the intersection to a T-intersection. The Lutz Road grant is $460,000, with the road commission matching $46,000, and will help widen the mile of road from Fairchild to Roys Road as part of the larger project to widen the entire length of the road. The roundabout safety grant is $500,000, with the road commission matching $50,000, and would change the Lutz/Centreville-Constantine intersection into a roundabout. All of the projects are currently slated for 2024.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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