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September 20, 2013

No alarm bells ringing for fire museum in Jeffersonville

Tourism bureau dedicates money to museum in flux



Corporation and Redevelopment Commission Attorney Les Merkley previously brought a procedural issue before the council, which outlined that in order to redevelop properties within the former canal district that were purchased with Tax Increment Finance dollars, the redevelopment commission needed to bring the matter before the council to approve the change to the plan.

However, because the properties in question were being leased and not sold to the entities, Merkley said an amendment to the TIF plan was unnecessary. 

Despite a call from the council for the museums to put their respective plans on hold until a determination is made, work is underway and will continue at least on the fire museum property.

Curt Peters, president of the vintage fire museum board, said there is no concern that the museum lease will be invalidated or that it will be asked to move elsewhere as a result of the council’s potential legal challenge.

When asked what assurances he had and about potential zoning requirements Peters said, “we’re letting the legal advisors take care of that.”

He declined to name the fire museum’s legal advisors.

Jack Vissing, tourism bureau attorney and redevelopment commission member, agreed that there was no concern about a potential suit.

“All the actions were made with the approval of Buddy Downs before they were taken,” he said. Downs is an attorney for Indianapolis-based firm Ice Miller that has been advising the redevelopment commission.

Vissing said the redevelopment commission had a lease for the fire museum before a request for proposal was sent out that included the property as a potential development site.  When two proposals were returned, no one but the fire museum put an offer on the Bales property.

“They’re just grousing with Mike [Moore],” Vissing said, referring to the council. “That would be a bad thing for them to do,” he said of filing the suit.

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