While some residents are opposing a plan to build a new truck stop in Whitley County, Ind., a partner in the planned deal to build K & M Junction says it makes good economic sense.
Kay Beard, who has been in the truck stop business since 1990, told Land Line on Thursday, June 5, that she is one of three partners who are proposing to build the new 26-acre site.
She said the planned site will bring in 85 to 100 full-time jobs, with some part-time jobs. Beard said the new truck stop in Whitley County would bring in much needed tax revenue for both the county and state, if approved.
She said the planned site will have a total of 320 parking spaces, including 160 designated parking spots for tractor-trailers, as well as at least 160 designated spots for expediters, bobtails and RVs.
Many state-owned rest areas in Indiana still remain closed because of budget reasons.
“We want this to be a safe haven for truckers,” Beard told Land Line. “While the attitude at some truck stops is to get fuel and get out, this is not what we are about. We want to have a place that encourages truck drivers to hang out and get to know us.”
She said K & M Junction will have all of the amenities other truck stops have, including a restaurant, which will feature homemade food and baked goods, as well as laundry facilities and a store. It will not include a truck repair shop because Beard said there “just isn’t enough room.”
“There are very few mom and pop truck stops around and this is what we are about. We are about the drivers,” she said. “We want to make a difference in the community by having benefits and finding other ways to give back. We want to get to know the locals here, too.”
She said she has also talked to someone in the health field who wants to set up a booth at the new site to do heart screenings and blood pressure checks.
Beard said she still has former employees from her first truck stop, Kaghann’s Korner in Waterloo, Ind., which burned down, who have expressed interest in coming to work for her if the new truck stop is built.
A rezoning public hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 18. A vote on rezoning the land is scheduled for July. Beard said she has heard from some who have concerns about trucks idling all night or who have traffic concerns. She said she has designed the truck stop so the truck parking will be behind the truck stop in the northwest corner, in an effort not to disturb any residents.
Beard said it makes good business sense to build near Steel Dynamics, a large steel mill on U.S. 30 that is one of the five largest steel producers in the United States.
Beard said her plans to build a new mom and pop truck stop have been in the works for nearly three years now. She hopes the county will approve her request to rezone the land, which is currently zoned as agricultural, to general commercial and industrial /manufacturing so the project can move forward.
“We want this to be a one-stop shop that has everything drivers might need,” Beard said. “We are known for our baked goods and our treatment of drivers. We want them to get on the radio and talk good about us. That is always how we got business in the past was by word of mouth.”
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