News and Tribune

Clark County

March 19, 2014

Jeffersonville officials set goal for Big Four bridge opening: Derby-related date announced

Temporary lighting could provide solution for long-awaited access to bridge

NEW ALBANY — If Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore has his way, the Big Four bridge will be open to pedestrian traffic the Wednesday before the Kentucky Derby.

Moore announced at the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission meeting Wednesday that City Engineer Andy Crouch has been in touch with the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration about getting them to agree to allow the city to install temporary light fixtures on the Big Four. Moore said Crouch characterized the conversations with the officials at the two agencies as “favorable.”

“[Crouch] came back to me today and said, ‘They’re good with that,’” Moore said. “I said, ‘Get it in writing.’”

Moore said the temporary lights that Crouch has selected to install while the city waits for the permanent light fixtures to arrive would cost the city around $20,000. He added that the cost would be small compared to the positive economic impact of opening the bridge on time for Derby weekend.

“To me, every day’s important, but Derby Day is when we have hundreds of thousands if not millions of people seeing Louisville and Jeffersonville,” Moore said. “It’s a great opportunity for us. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of investors putting their hard-earned dollars into Jeffersonville. They are doing it with the anticipation of the Big Four Bridge. It’s a great time to be in Jeff, but Derby is a huge impact.”

Once the two agencies have given their approval in writing, Moore said he expects the redevelopment commission to call a special meeting to consider appropriating the funds for the temporary lights. He said he hopes to have the written approval in the next two to three business days.

Moore wasn’t certain what type of lighting Crouch had picked out, but said he was assured that the lights wouldn’t be intrusive to the residents of the Rose Hill neighborhood.

“I think if you’re talking $20,000, you’re talking halfway decent lighting,” Moore said.

AMATROL GRANT APPROVED

The redevelopment commission voted 4-0 to approve a grant through the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for the training of employees at Amatrol.

The redevelopment commission will spend $200,000 from the Inner City Road tax increment financing district, matching $200,000 contributed by IEDC.

“I appreciate them wanting to stay in Jeffersonville,” said Redevelopment Commission President R. Monty Snelling.  

The Jeffersonville City Council approved a 10-year tax abatement for Amatrol March 3.

Commission member Jamie Lake was absent from the meeting.

STEAMBOAT DAYS DONATION

The redevelopment commission voted unanimously to contribute $20,000 to help fund the return of the Jeffersonville Steamboat Days festival.

Planning Director Shane Corbin said the city’s Urban Enterprise Zone had already approved donating $20,000, but on the condition that the redevelopment commission and the city council do the same. The commission’s donation was made with the condition that the UEZ and council each contribute $20,000.

The festival will return Oct. 17 through Oct. 19, and will coincide with the celebration of the 100th birthday of the Belle of Louisville.

Corbin said the festival has secured about $8,000 in private donations to fund the event, which he estimated will cost between $80,000 and $100,000.

 

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