Photo: Joseph A. (Flickr)
The city of Washington, Indiana, is conducting a study to analyze the costs and benefits of annexing an area that lies in the route of the future Interstate 69 after the Board of Public Works and Safety voted last week to move ahead with the study.
In addition to the property to the east of Washington, the study is also looking at land south of the city near Highway 50, although city officials say they have not defined the boundaries for the annexation.
If the properties are annexed, the city will have to provide city services like electricity and sewage to those areas. That will cost the city up front, but city councilman and public works board member Eric Bassler says the annexation would also bring in property taxes that are currently going to county or township governments.
“Once the study comes back, we’ll have a much better feel for whether it would make sense for the city of Washington and whether it makes sense for the landowners or the homeowners in those different areas,” Bassler says. “Then we’ll have to again, plan accordingly.”
Washington Mayor Joe Wellman, who also sits on the public works board, says it’s too early to tell how much business will develop along I-69 near Washington, but the city must do what it can to attract businesses.
“There’s not been a lot of definite businesses that have bought land or that have definitely decided to do anything, but the city has done some rezoning to accommodate that,” Wellman says.
The mayor says the study should be complete by the end of the summer and the city plans to make a decision on whether to annex the land by March of 2013. INDOT says it plans to have the interstate open to traffic in Washington by the end of this year.