By MATT KOESTERS
The cat is officially out of the bag.
The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission unanimously endorsed a favorable recommendation for a tax abatement for a new Menards location near Veterans Parkway and Hamburg Pike on Wednesday.
The vote on the recommendation was 4-0, with commission President R. Monty Snelling absent because of illness.
The redevelopment commission’s recommendation for the abatement must still be approved by the city council before it is officially granted to the home improvement superstore, which has about 280 locations throughout the Midwest.
The tax abatement would be for a term of 10 years, with the total amount of city taxes deferred from 100 percent reducing by 10 percent in each subsequent year, said Redevelopment Director Rob Waiz.
Menards, which would locate behind Circle K and Accent Marketing along Veterans Parkway, would employ about 100 people, including some part-time staff, Waiz said. Waiz said he did not know what the average employee salary would be.
The city council had designated the area that Menards will occupy an economic development target area, which expands what types of businesses are eligible for tax abatements, at an Aug. 19 meeting.
The city council will consider the tax abatement at its next regular meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
Now that there’s about $8 million for aesthetics for the Indiana side of the Ohio River Bridges Project, it’s time to talk about the look of what’s coming.
Waiz presented members of the redevelopment commission with renderings of possible aesthetic upgrades to the Indiana side of the east-end crossing, designed by WVB East End Partners.
“It’s a vast improvement over what they were considering,” Waiz said.
The renderings depict four-board fencing along some of the Interstate 265 corridor north of the east-end crossing, possibilities for monuments at Jeffersonville city limits, smooth concrete barrier walls at abutments and native trees, shrubs and grasses to “reflect the juxtaposition of Jeffersonville with the Ohio River and Indiana agriculture,” according to the designs.
The redevelopment commission took no action, but were complimentary of the changes to the look of the east-end plans.
“It adds a little character,” said board member Rob Stephens.
The initial Ohio River Bridges Project budget did not include funds for aesthetics, which are now being paid for by Jeffersonville and the Indiana Department of Transportation. INDOT will fund 80 percent of the upgrades, with Jeffersonville covering the balance.
COMMISSION FUNDS PUBLIC ARTS ADMINISTRATOR
The redevelopment commission agreed to contribute $40,000 to the Jeffersonville Public Art Committee to pay a public art administrator.
The city’s Urban Enterprise Zone and city council have also committed $40,000 apiece to fund the position for three years.
The vote was 3-1, with board member Jack Vissing voting against. Vissing expressed concern about to whom the public art administrator, which would be a contract position, would report.
Vissing had motioned to table the matter with the intent of clarifying the reporting structure, but the motion died for lack of second. Board member James Lake motioned to approve the request.