Upgrade of 40/142 safety ‘on track

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Area leaders say progress is being made toward a safer intersection at U.S. Route 40 and State Route 142.

About 30 businessmen, government officials and residents heard those words Aug. 4 as the West Jefferson Business Council, an offshoot of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, met at the Jefferson Township Administration Office.

“Everything is going on track right now,’’ said Madison County Commissioner Chris Snyder as he and West Jefferson Mayor Tom Phillips updated the group on the interchange project.

Business council members and West Jefferson government representatives be-gan lobbying state officials earlier this year to install a stop light at the intersection, which has been the site of many accidents over the past few years.

Snyder said the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has scheduled an April 2009 starting date for upgrading the intersection with a completion date of September 2009. He said ODOT officials have started the process of acquiring easements for the project.

Snyder and Phillips will meet with state officials at the end of September for further updates.

Downtown Revitalization

Recently, Madison County Chamber of Commerce Director Sean Hughes presented a resolution to village council, asking them to set up a committee of government officials, businessmen, service organization representatives and residents to aid in planning West Jefferson’s downtown revitalization project.

Council President Darlene Steele said the village council is on board with the committee idea, but wants to be sure the committee maintains close communication with council.

“Council would like to have all grant applications presented to council for their inspection prior to submission,’’ Steele said.

Hughes said the “Main Street” program on which West Jefferson’s revitalization will be based requires all grant money to go through the village government, as well as all design plans.

“Again, this is a 10-year process, minimum, that we are looking at,’’ Hughes said. “Actually, this is a project for the life of West Jefferson. What we do now and over the next 10 years will affect the future of the village and all of its residents,’’ Hughes said.

Development Update

In a brief development update, Phillips said the village has four or five businesses interested in the village’s industrial park. He said those businesses could bring another 1,000 jobs to West Jefferson in the next few years.

“We are the talk of the economic community,’’ Hughes said, referring to the industrial park as part of the “golden triangle’’ of development.

“West Jefferson is now surpassing Rickenbacker in the economic development news. Rickenbacker was the hot com-modity; now it’s West Jefferson, right here where you live,’’ Hughes said.

To get the word out about development in West Jefferson and Madison County as a whole, the village will sponsor a community tent at the West Jefferson Ox Roast on Labor Day weekend, Phillips said.

“Local communities will be able to show what is going on in their communities as well as what’s here in West Jefferson, and there will be chairs available so people can sit and relax out of the heat and sun,” Phillips said.

The next meeting of the West Jefferson Business Council will be at 9 a.m. Sept. 8 at the Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library.

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