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October 14, 2012

Pilot House drifting listlessly

Project to convert old Jeffersonville High School cafeteria into arts site on-hold


JEFFERSONVILLE — Another setback?

At the redevelopment commission’s September meeting, the Pilot House project was dealt another blow when Clark County Museum President Jeanne Burke was granted the option to pursue another property at 721 Michigan Ave. — and its adjacent pole barn that was formerly a sign company.

Burke said the Clark County Museum has been looking to move into a more visible location.

“It’s easier for us to get attention and money if we’re in a highly visible spot,” she said. “A lot of people don’t know we exist.”

The museum is currently located on the fourth floor of the Clark County Government Building at 501 Court Ave.

Burke asked the redevelopment commission if it would be willing to donate the Michigan Avenue property — which was acquired by the city under the previous administration to complete its plan to develop a canal — so the museum could move into that location. She added that most of the renovation work would be done by museum volunteers and the two entities would need an ownership or rental agreement for property in order for the museum to secure grants to fund the renovations.

But the shift to the Michigan Avenue location would mean that the museum was pulling out of the Pilot House it was supposed to share with arts groups.

“There may be some confusion about the Pilot House program, and the museum, and what all happened to that, I don’t know,” Burke said.

She said the museum’s decision to move on was, in part, due to questions about whether the city supported the effort and that the arts organization was not moving forward at the Pilot House.

“Once they left, we couldn’t be in that building alone with all that space,” Burke said. “So we kind of gave up on the Pilot House program and that’s where we stand today.”

With the request, the redevelopment commission agreed to begin the request-for-proposal process for a lease-purchase for the museum at the Michigan Avenue site.

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