Randy DanielsonIt was with great interest that I attended the US 30 Coalition meeting on Tuesday evening.  I was glad to see the numbers that turned out and the thoughts shared.

I applaud the approach being taken by our local City and County leaders and even greater respect for the State of Indiana – INDOT and MACOG for informing us and involving us in the up-grade process and options from which we can choose or yet create.

As Commissioner Mike Delp said, “Let’s think back some 50 years ago.”  That was not hard for me because at the age of 10 my family was going through the very displacement process that led to the construction of the US 30 By-Pass on the north edge of Plymouth.  We were quite content in the neighborhood at 2216 N. Michigan St. with a party line of WE6-4304.  Our neighbors to the south were Corky & Dixie Lingle (now Masterson Realty), Ray & Lee Taber and Bernie & Harriet Scheetz.  To the north, Joe “Popcorn” & Maurine Summerlin (Surge Dairy Farm Equipment), The Robert & Helen Kirkley family (Pirod TV).   Across the street were Don & Betty Palbykin’s tribe of playmates (Dunkin Donuts/First Federal Bank) and old Franklin School (Speedway/Christo’s Family Restaurant). Skylane Drive didn’t exist at that time.  Life was good.  My parents, Walt & Lucille Danielson had bought their home in 1955 and established Lucilles Beauty Salon & Danielson Milk Transport.  Dad picked up milk from the area dairy farmers and transported it to the Borden Milk plant in Woodstock, Illinois.  It came back to our fridge by way of Henry’s Serv-U (Price’s Valet Cleaners) (at the corner of Klinger & Michigan…you know, next to Burger Chef.  Who didn’t cruise that back in the day) anyway, in the glass gallon jugs with the red plastic handle and with Elsie the smiling cows face greeting you every time you opened the fridge.  It was a busy entrepreneurial neighborhood you might say.

But in late 1962 word of a by-pass started swirling and men in black suits began knocking on doors.  They were the acquisition team that went around first doing appraisals and returning months later with a notice of purchase for X amount of dollars through the State of Indiana’s right of Eminent Domain.  It became words and a process that make me cringe whenever I see it imposed upon someone.

I remember the anguish my folks were going through at the time, the low appraised value for a home we all loved, relocating two businesses and a family of five children.  Many went to court for higher settlements, my folks did not and were not even allowed to remove the dishwasher (yes, we had one thanks to Dr. Paul & Grace Connell) or the soft water system they had purchased from Rabb Soft Water.   These were not easy times for any business, family or farm along the US 30 corridor and in 1964 while the Klingerman’s were tearing the brick off of our home so it could be moved, we moved to Route 2 Plymouth-Goshen Trail (The old Rudd place as it was called.)

Change many times is not easy but without it there is NO progress.  Many have and continue to invest heavily in the community of Marshall County making it a better place for all to prosper and call home.  I love Plymouth and all that Marshall County has to offer and its vision for even greater things that lie ahead.  Maybe this project can’t happen soon enough.  We want to remain the ‘Crossroads of America’ that provides for greater safety and absolute access to our businesses and city.   This will be a perfect time to make the off-ramp to Hwy 17 one that is welcoming and lures people off to see what Plymouth has to offer and once they do they will be hooked.

Had we not been nudged a bit back in the 60’s, maybe Bob Kirkley would not have moved PiRod to Oak Road (now Valmont) and created Plymouth’s first airstrip, or Joe Summerlin to build a new Surge building on E. Jefferson St. now Dr. Stillson’s office, or Don Palbykin to put in Skylane Drive and apartments or have the great food at Christo’s or us to grow up in a loving home with an 80 acre city park in our backyard!

Embrace change and turn it into something positive.  It’s everywhere.

Randall L. Danielson