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Sharing the Progress: The 2022 State of the County Address

Commissioners tout better internet, robust event venues, better roads for Vanderburgh County

The 2022 State of the County Address was hosted by the Evansville Rotary Club at Old National Events Plaza on Tuesday.

Commissioners Jeff Hatfield, Cheryl Musgrave and Ben Shoulders were guided through their short presentations by emcee Nick Wallace, new manager for the venue.

They discussed updates on roads, parks, events venues and fiber optic internet service coming to rural areas.

Commissioner Musgrave said there are about 20,000 residents in unincorporated Vanderburgh County with unreliable, or no internet access. She says internet provider AT&T and federal funds will change that.

“The American rescue plan act will contribute $10 million to connect virtually every property in unincorporated Vanderburgh county with fiber, which is the top of the line access in the world now and for the foreseeable future
," she said. "So, so far, Vanderburgh is the only county in the country that will offer this level of connectivity in the unincorporated county.”

Musgrave says the project needs to be completed by the end of 2023. She also talked about the developing revitalization effort for the Evansville Memorial Colosseum. This project is in the concept and fund-raising stages.

Commissioner Ben Shoulders said the only county-owned park — Burdette Park — could have another historic year for ticket sales.

“Last year, proud to say again that Burnett set an all time Park record the park opened in 1961 and had never exceeded $1 million in gross revenue until 2021," he said. "The exact I think number was $1,143,000. This year it's forecasted to be $1.4 million, so hopefully another historic year for Burdette.”

Shoulders says revenue has been increasing steadily since 2018, and that other county-owned properties such as the old courthouse is also doing well.

Commissioner Jeff Hatfield started the event by discussing roads. He said more was spent in previous years to play "catch-up" on road projects. He said about $3 million is being spent on paving roads in 2022.

"It does add to our quality of life to have nice roads," he said. "And so I'm very proud of this commission, and the amount of paving money we have spent and the amount of the amount of roads that we've paved in the last three and a half years. And I know that it will continue on into the next several years."

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Tim Jagielo
The 2022 State of the County