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(NOBLESVILLE, Ind.) – Hamilton County commissioners are highlighting a strong balance sheet and a busy construction schedule in their annual State of the County address.

The county expects to finish a third new interchange on State Road 37 through Fishers and Noblesville this fall, part of a redesign Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt calls transformational. A double roundabout at 126th Street is already complete, with a similar interchange at 131st expected to open this summer, and a new diamond interchange at 146th slated to be complete this fall. Heirbrandt says the changes will relieve traffic backups in the rapidly growing county.

A final new interchange at 141st Street will take a couple more years to complete. Heirbrandt says inflation has driven the projected cost of that leg of the redesign over budget. The county plans to get started on needed utility work and then seek a fresh round of bids.

While Heirbrandt says the State Road 37 project will come in over budget, he says the opposite has been true for most of the county’s construction projects. He boasts Hamilton County’s property tax rate is Indiana’s sixth-lowest, while it’s the only county to match the state’s AAA bond rating.

Along with State Road 37 and work coming next year on 146th Street, the commissioners have construction plans for the Hamilton County Fairgrounds and the county parks department. Noblesville street projects will mean the demolition of two 4-H buildings at the fairgrounds, while the exhibition hall will be expanded.

Commissioner Christine Altman says the county has purchased two tracts of land in the northern third of the county which will become the next two Hamilton County parks. A park in the county’s northeast quadrant will be home to a new nature preserve, while more than 100 acres between Noblesville and Atlanta will expand existing wetlands, and may feature a new amphitheater.

And Altman says the county has acquired another eight acres to partner with Prevail on a new women’s shelter, Hamilton County’s first. She says women fleeing domestic violence until now have had to go to Indianapolis or Anderson, with their kids enduring long bus rides to avoid changing schools.

Altman and Heirbrandt were last-minute substitutes for the third commissioner, Steve Dillinger, who stepped aside after contracting COVID-19.