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December 18, 2013

Jeffersonville commission tables utility relocation

Also tables request to modify mortgage for Quartermaster Station

JEFFERSONVILLE — If it’s part of the plan, why didn’t we plan for it?

That’s the question that board member Jamie Lake had Wednesday when the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission considered a request from Duke Energy for more than $164,000 to pay for the burial of utility lines near Big Four Station.

The designs for Big Four Station — the new park that will welcome visitors who cross the Big Four Bridge from Louisville — factor in that the utility poles will be removed and the lines will be placed underground. But the cost of utility burial isn’t factored into the cost of the project, Lake said.

All three board members present, which included Jack Vissing and board President R. Monty Snelling, said they’d like to know why the plan didn’t incorporate those costs.

“That’s an obscene amount,” Vissing said.

Redevelopment Director Rob Waiz said the move needed to be made quickly, because the relocation of historic homes in the area could increase in cost by as much as $10,000 if the utilities for the homes are relocated and then buried at separate times.

Snelling and Lake both said they support the burial of utility lines. However, with the price for utility burial being presented as a preliminary figure, Lake motioned to table the matter while a not-to-exceed amount is obtained from Duke. The motion passed unanimously.

MORTGAGE MODIFICATION TABLED

The board also unanimously voted to table a request from Quartermaster Station LLC, the developer of the property of the same name, for a modification to the mortgage on the property that would increase the draw against the property by more than $1 million. The modification would increase the total amount borrowed to $11.15 million.

Allen Morris, an attorney representing Stock Yards Bank and Trust, the lender, told the board that as owners of the property, it would need to approve the mortgage modification. He said that the city would have no liability to repay the loan.

When asked what the money from the increased draw would be used for, Morris said he didn’t know.

“You don’t have an explanation?” Vissing asked. “You don’t have a vote.”

Morris said that while he didn’t know what the specific purpose of the loan would be, he said he was certain it would be used for improvements to the property.

Lake made a motion to table the request, which the board approved over protests from Morris, who said the loan modification was time-sensitive. Vissing said he wanted more information before he would approve the modification, as the city owns the capital.

“Show me a picture, show me a drawing,” Vissing said.

PROPERTIES CONVEYED

The board unanimously voted to take ownership of two historic homes that were recently relocated and convey them to Indiana Landmarks.

The homes, which are located at 411 W. Market St. and 626 E. Seventh St., respectively, did not receive bids when they were put up for auction.

“Rather than hold the properties, the state would very much like to get them off the books,” said Greg Sekula with Indiana Landmarks.

 

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