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April 2, 2013

Jeffersonville parks plan stalls

No vote taken to seek grant funds for joint drainage-park project

JEFFERSONVILLE — Falls Landing Park, a plan to address drainage issues near Indiana Ave. and Eighth Street and beautify the city’s entrance, will not move forward.

The Jeffersonville City Council did not take a vote on the plan to seek a grant that would help pay for the project through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. With no action taken and the Friday deadline to submit the application, the grant will not be secured.

The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission previously approved the plan by a vote of 3-2, with Commissioners Rob Stevens and James Lake voting against, to pay $698,000 of the city’s match to construct the pond and the park. The total price for the project is about $1.2 million, and the remainder of the cost is being paid for by the $500,000 OCRA grant.

Melissa Woods with River Hills Economic Development District and Regional Planning Commission said the city was not really in competition for the funds, which was being designated from a flexible disaster recovery fund. But what was required to receive the money was both the retention pond and the surrounding park.

“If you took the park element out of it, you wouldn’t be getting these funds,” she said.

Concerns about the cost and the potential for a combined sewer overflow to contaminate the pond were still among the main reasons the city council cited for not moving forward on the plan.

Mayor Mike Moore pointed to the plan as something that the city had agreed to move forward on under the previous administration. He added that the city’s engineers, engineering firm and sewer supervisor — who worked under the previous administration — are in favor of the project.

“We’re never going to fix everything, but when somebody offers you a half-a-million dollars to fix a problem, take it,” he said.

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