SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – A yearslong effort to establish an official boundary between Indiana and Michigan is getting underway.
The Indiana-Michigan Boundary Line Commission has agreed to seek quotes for survey work from Mile 0, which starts at Lake Michigan, to Mile 20, in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
The work is part of an effort to clear up the 105-mile border between the two states, which has been anyone’s guess for the better part of two centuries.
The only government-recognized line between the two states is based off wooden stakes driven into the ground by Eleazer Kendrick in 1827. But most of those stakes have disappeared over the years, blurring the exact location of the border that stretches from southern Lake Michigan to northwestern Ohio.
Volunteers have hiked through woods, marshes and grasslands and searched lakes and streams for the stakes, but they’ve only found a handful over the years.
Surveyors from both states began started talking to lawmakers about the need to install new, permanent markers and re-establish the border in 2008. The result is the commission, which has enlisted surveyors from five Indiana counties and five Michigan counties to begin resurveying the border and marking it with cement and metal monuments.
The work is scheduled to be done by July 2018. About $400,000 has been appropriated over the next two years for the work.
John McNamara, surveyor in Indiana’s St. Joseph County, said the boundary is pretty close now but could be off in spots. The uncertainty could lead to problems when it comes to assessments and taxes.
“I was asked by a judge once to testify in a court case where someone was shot on State Line Road,” McNamara told the South Bend Tribune. “I had to testify on what side of the state line he was shot on.”
Some residents along the border have expressed concern over the years that the effort to mark the official boundary could change their state of residence.
McNamara said they shouldn’t worry.
“We’re not going to tell someone that you live in Michigan when you live in Indiana,” he said.
Discussions about the survey process are expected to resume in June.
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