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April 18, 2012

Jeffersonville officials discuss urban trail proposal

JEFFERSONVILLE — Officials got a fresh look this week at plans for a walking trail that’s proposed to go through downtown Jeffersonville.

The trail is to be built on land acquired for the now-shelved canal project. It’ll also include the area where the Big Four Bridge ramp lands. During a special meeting of the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday night, commissioners and members of the Jeffersonville City Council offered both reactions and ideas.


Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore has pitched the trail as something that would coincide with the construction of a large pipe — called the Market Street interceptor — being built to relieve combined sewer overflows in the downtown area. The city, under legal pressure from the federal government, has to eliminate those overflows because they violate the U.S. Clean Water Act by washing untreated sewage into the Ohio River and other waterways.

Built in part on top of the Market Street interceptor, the trail would essentially run the same path as the old canal proposal — which former Mayor Tom Galligan had pitched as a sewer overflow fix. Moore stopped that project after taking office in January, calling it too expensive.

The Market Street interceptor is expected to cost $30.8 million and be funded by recent sewer rate increases.

A section of it would be built beneath Market Street — or possibly Chestnut Street, depending on how plans develop — then it would come north, roughly following Mulberry Street and Michigan Avenue, to a pump station being built at the corner of 10th and Spring streets. Moore and economic development director Rob Waiz have proposed building the walking trail on top of the pipe because the city can’t build structures on it.

Redevelopment Commission President Mike Hutt said the administration is using the term trail very loosely. He compared it the Monon Trail in Indianapolis, saying it would feature bars, restaurants and other commerce.

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