The Indiana Department of Transportation sponsored events Saturday in five communities along Interstate 69 to mark the upcoming debut of the highway in Daviess and Greene Counties. Residents of those communities are wondering what the highway will bring.
It was a gray Saturday morning just outside Bloomfield, but families, local politicians, and public officials still gathered to celebrate the opening of the road. Attendees parked their cars along a freshly paved section of I-69 to attend an antique car show, face painting booths, and police dog demonstrations.
Morgan Heaton looked on as a clown made a balloon giraffe for his two-year-old and five-year-old sons. Heaton has lived in Bloomfield all of his life, and he works as an explosives technician at the nearby Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center.
Heaton says he knows the new highway will make business more efficient for his company, but he says the county’s changing, and the place where his sons grow up won’t be quite the same as it was when he was a kid.
“This was really some beautiful country right where we’re at, you know, and now it’s got a big interstate running right through the middle of it,” he says. “But what are you going to do? The powers that be made it happen, and well, we’re just going to have to make the best of it.”
Local politicians say making the best of it is something Greene County residents are getting used to. Steve Schantz is running for a Greene County Council seat and says the county will have to find ways to capitalize on the new road.
“This is one of those situations where the door only opens one time, and I think that Greene County is on the threshold of seizing that opportunity and walking through that door,” he says.
Schantz says as with any change, there are growing pains, but he says a few residents losing their property to the road still helps the community’s economy.
Bonnie Layton and Adrianna Zhang contributed to this report.