The Harmony Town Council has worked with Commonwealth Engineers to submit a new Transportation Enhancement (TE) Grant proposal to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT).
Harmony hopes to use the grant, if approved, to beautify the area along U.S. 40.
The plan consists of the design and construction of landscape and improvements along U.S. 40 for about six-tenths of a mile through Harmony. It recommends brick-banded sidewalks on both sides of the highway, ornamental lighting, planters, entrance signs on both ends of town, decorative park benches and decorative trash receptacles. Special attention will be paid to the area where Church, Vine and Elm streets intersect with U.S. 40, in the heart of Harmony.
Last year a request was submitted but was not approved although it was considered a good proposal. The Council has worked with advisors and other civic groups to enhance the earlier document and provide more information in hopes that it will be granted this year.
The town of Harmony recently became a member of the Indiana National Road Association (INRA). The INRA is dedicated to the preservation, protection, and promotion of the U.S. 40, National Road.
"The Harmony U.S. 40 Beautification and En-hancement Project will support the significance of the road and benefit the experience of the traveler," said INRA Executive Director Joe Jarzen.
The people of Harmony hope that it will also call positive attention to the area and spur economic activity.
Greg Midgley, President of the National Road Heritage Trail, attended the Town Council meeting on Jan. 3.
After the meeting, he discussed the merits of the proposed 150-mile, cross-state greenway trail that will pass through Harmony. This organization wants to work with the town to integrate or connect the Harmony Beautification Project and the Trail Project in a manner that is beneficial to both.
The cost of the Harmony U.S. 40 Corridor Beautification and Enhancement Project is estimated near $925,000. Eighty percent or $740,000 would come from INDOT leaving a 20 percent match of $185,000. The town can use cash on hand and/or may elect to pursue a Community Focus Fund grant from the Office of Rural Affairs to help defray costs.
Harmony has benefited from the efforts of the town council, committees and other individuals.
Since becoming incorporated in 1977, successful grant applications have helped with creating the Harmony Park, the storm sewers, street lights and the soon-to-be-constructed Community House.
"The town's public outreach has been extremely interactive and informative to its citizens, interested organizations and the members of the review committee that will be passing judgment on Harmony's TE application," Vince Sommers, Commonweath Engineers said. "This well- planned and coordinated project is something that all of us, including INDOT, should support."