New "24" Could Boost Woodburn Economy

By Jeff Neumeyer

November 12, 2012 Updated Nov 12, 2012 at 6:45 PM EDT

WOODBURN, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) --- Indiana's smallest city hopes to cash in big on the opening of a new section of U.S. 24 in eastern Allen County.

Officials in Woodburn are giddy about the road project.

The mayor of Woodburn thinks restaurants, a truck stop, and new manufacturing plants could be drawn to his city by the new roadway, and he wants to be ready to capture some of the additional revenue, if his vision comes to pass.

Governor Daniels and other dignitaries on Wednesday will snip the ribbon on a ten-mile stretch of highway, connecting the 469 Bypass to the Ohio state line.

It will make the drive from Fort Wayne to Toledo four lanes all the way.

The new road passes within a quarter mile of a Woodburn industrial park that has sat empty for 25 years.

Democratic Mayor Richard Hoeppner believes the ideal access to good road will attract business to the shovel ready sites in the 58-acre industrial park like a magnet.

He also wants to annex more land between the new 24 and his city.

" We look for some growth out here, even in the four corners out here of the new interchange. We've got some proposals coming up, that may take effect and grow some of the commercial industry out here at Woodburn,” Hoeppner said.

Besides boosting Woodburn's economy, a lot of homeowners in that area are counting on the new road ushering in other positive changes.

Bev Armbruster’s home is perched right along the old two-lane section of 24.

She’s seen bad accidents, including fatalities, happen along the stretch of road repeatedly during the more than 40 years that she has lived there.

She can’t wait for Wednesday, because she knows it will bring peace and quiet to her neighborhood, as well as safer travel for motorists who use the road.

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