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March 18, 2013

Jeffersonville closer to going forward on Falls Landing Park

Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission commits up to $698,000

JEFFERSONVILLE — The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission agreed to pay up to $698,000 toward the Falls Landing Park in a 3-2 vote Wednesday, March 13.

The total project comes with a price tag of approximately $1.2 million, said Redevelopment Commissioner Rob Stevens.

While Stevens and fellow commissioner James Lake voted against the motion, he said the city is in a position to show a financial commitment to the project, so officials can begin the application process for a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, or OCRA, to round out the project’s funding.

“We felt the figures that were used were not solid,” Stevens said. “I am not against the project, but the due diligence of coming up with those figures didn’t feel right to me.” 

While the commission committed itself to funding up to nearly $700,000, it could be asked to dish out additional funds, if the project exceeds $1.2 million, at a later date.

Lake said he is concerned the funding mechanisms are “not completely thought through” and that the price of the project keeps rising.

“There are no safeguards in place to prevent us from these project overruns,” Lake said. “That is a question I asked, and the answer I got, basically, is we have to fund the money, or don’t do the project.”

Not all commission members share those hesitations, however.

The commission’s director, Rob Waiz, said he thinks the project is a great option to alleviate flooding problems in the low-lying areas of downtown Jeffersonville.

“It’s a great project for downtown,” he said. “We are looking forward to it.”

Redevelopment Commission President R. Monty Snelling said he can empathize with Lake and Stevens’ concerns, but said he wants to keep the focus on the larger issue of moving forward with the project.

Snelling said he didn’t have any problems with the organization of the funding, but said there are other factors that need to be handled carefully, although he said he didn’t want to discuss those factors at this time.

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