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February 5, 2013

Museum plan needs council approval

Lease approved by redevelopment to be revisited



The one lease approved was for the Clark County Museum to move into two properties at 721 and 725 Michigan Ave.  The agreement would allow the museum to lease the property for 50 years — with five renewals every 10 years — at $1 per year. In addition, a lease-purchase agreement was  approved by the redevelopment commission for the property at 214 Court Ave., to convert a former restaurant into a vintage cafe and coffee shop.

Discussions were also offered at the redevelopment commission meeting when the museum’s lease was approved that nearby properties would be open to development for an arts center to locate in the former Gray & Wells Collision Center.

Redevelopment Commission President R. Monty Snelling said when he explained the potential for the property, following the approval of the museum’s lease, that the area could serve as the anchor for a walkable downtown art-and-history district.

Zastawny said at Monday’s meeting the two other non-profits were the art center and the New Albany Vintage Fire Museum and Education Center, which would potentially reopen upon relocation. A restaurant was also a possibility.

“What they’ve proposed doing is $1 leases for 50 years for some non-profit museums,” he said. “I can appreciate that, but if you look at it from the fiscal body’s standpoint, what we’re doing is we’re giving property that we paid millions of dollars for...and we’re putting non-profits in there that are not going to pay any property taxes, not increase any assessed values [and] not create any new jobs.  That’s certainly a change in the plan in my opinion.”

“In every single one, except for the restaurant, my understanding is it’s a $1-a-year, 50 year lease,” he added.

Councilman Dennis Julius agreed and said the city should be seeking private companies to develop the property.

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