Updated: Thursday, 15 Nov 2012, 5:59 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 14 Nov 2012, 11:59 PM EST
WASHINGTON, IND. (WTHI) - A small southern Indiana city gets a lot bigger.
The Washington City Council has approved an annexation ordinance that will add more than 1,000 acres of mostly undeveloped land to its borders.
The move is part of a plan to help the community maximize the potential growth that is expected from the opening of a new interstate on its front door.
After only three years of work, construction crews are busy putting the finishing touches on I-69 east of Washington to open the highway next week.
The work on the highway has prompted a flurry of work by the city of Washington.
It includes a 1,200 acre annexation of land surrounding the road.
"We want to make sure that to the east side, which is going to be the new front door to the city of Washington, develops in as orderly way as possible," said Mayor Joe Wellman.
"It's really a win-win and that brings more resources to the table to get some of this infrastructure in place," said Ron Arnold with the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation.
To some folks, a new interstate is just a road, but that is not the case in Washington.
Leaders see it as an opportunity to attract new industry and jobs, so they've been doing a lot of work to get ready for this highway to open.
"We think we're well positioned," said Wellman, "but we will need to make some improvements to make sure we can capitalize on all the growth that happens."
So while the construction crews try to wind down their work on the highway the community is laying plans to add more utilities into the area to make it even more attractive to developers.
"We've started planning this thing," said Arnold. "I'd say we're further along that some. I wouldn't say we're the furthest along but we've done our fair share of work and we'll continue to do so."
Something that may well mean more construction and development will be coming to the community's new front door after the road crews have moved on.
The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to open the 66-mile section of I-69 that runs from Crane to Evansville on Monday.
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