‘Shocking’ Bright/I-74 development

In a shocking development, my neighbors here in beautiful Bright, Indiana, aren’t that excited to see a new road connecting our little community to I-74.

Get this. They would rather see the money spent on improving existing roads and adding more quality-of-life attributes to the community, such as another firehouse and perhaps more fire and emergency vehicles.

That all makes perfect sense, except for the fact that it’s not how government funding usually works.

The government has no interest in improving existing roads. It only has money to spend on the creation of new projects in the vague belief that the hokum known as “economic development” will follow. Which, of course, it won’t.

The OKI Regional Council of Governments looks at infrastructure needs in the Tri-State. It was the Council’s survey of residents that led us to this point.

I hope OKI wasn’t too surprised by the results. After all, any new roads, especially like the one in the new proposal, are best described as decades away from reality. As opposed to years.

I suppose such a road would spark some economic development. But my guess is that it would take place around the Brookville/West Harrison interchange off of I-74, rather than in Bright.

Fireworks, flour, and maybe some Chevys are about the only reason for anyone to use the interchange right now.

It isn’t that hard for people to get there from Bright anyway, although most would choose another direction.

You can’t travel 55 mph down Whites Hill Road or along State Street/Old US 52 to get to the new flour mill.

But that’s hardly a crisis for those of us on top of the hill and hardly worth the millions of dollars it would cost to build a new connector.

I’m sure our friends in Harrison are a bit skeptical about all this anyway. They attract an enormous amount of business from northern Dearborn County.

While Harrison continues to grow with new and expensive homes (please tell me who buys a $400,000 home in Harrison?), the restaurants, grocery stores and gas stations don’t want to - and can’t afford to - lose that business.

By the way, gasoline in Bright was selling for $2.19 per gallon last weekend, 20 cents cheaper than in Harrison.

The world has indeed gone wacky, because I can’t remember such a price disparity favoring Indiana in the 29 years I’ve been a resident of Bright.

Although for the first dozen years or so there was only one pump in town. And when I say one pump, I do not mean one gas station, I mean one pump.

Yes, Bright folks, we have come a long way. We weren’t a one-horse town, but we were a one-pump town.

This doesn’t mean the that OKI won’t go ahead with plans to build the new road. Their challenge is to envision the future, not what’s going on today.

I just hope that, in 2036 when the new connector is in place, they invite 85-year-old Bob Hyle to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Somebody may have to come pick me up, though.

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