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January 8, 2013

Chain of events leads to new downtown features in Jeffersonville

Leftover grant money buys bike racks, info boxes

JEFFERSONVILLE — A few new eye-catching structures have been installed in Jeffersonville’s historic downtown district and more may be on the way.

Three unique bike racks along the Spring Street corridor were installed recently thanks to $20,000 left over from a grant secured back in 2004.

Jeffersonville Grant Administrator Delynn Rutherford said the funds to install the bike racks came from a federal $250,000 Housing and Urban Development revitalization grant that was requested to rebuild the damaged block of Spring Street and help the displaced tenants in the wake of a fire at Horner Novelty earlier that year. Rutherford said there was $20,000 remaining from the grant and the city had 30 days to spend the money, the bulk of which had previously been used to bury power lines and repour sidewalks along Spring Street. She added the money had to be spent on something that wasn’t construction related.

Three items that money was spent on are highly visible — the new artistic bike racks placed downtown. One bike rack, which mimics waves, was placed along the riverfront; a steaming coffee cup was installed next to Perkfection Cafe; and an old-timey bicycle next to LifeSpring on Court Avenue.

“We’ve gotten a lot of compliments,” Rutherford said about the bike racks.

Along with the bicycle racks, new trash receptacles were purchased as well as two metal benches with City of Jeffersonville etched onto the backrest.

Parks Director Paul Northam said both of the benches will be placed along Spring Street between Market Street and Court Avenue, but a specific location has not been determined.

Two sets of pendant flags and replacement banner arms, along with information boxes, were also purchased with the grant money.

The information boxes are metal frames fronted with glass, akin to information kiosks at malls or airports, that will contain a directory about the area shops and information about upcoming special events in Jeffersonville.

Jay Ellis, executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street Inc., said the boxes were originally designed to attach to the existing light poles on Spring Street, but instead Jeffersonville Main Street is reaching out to local artists to come up with a design to make stands that will be “a unique piece of art.”

“Based on the size, they’re more pedestrian-oriented ... encouraging people to explore downtown,” he said.

A total of 18 boxes that are about 8 inches wide and 2 feet tall were purchased with the grant funds. Ellis said two boxes will likely be placed on one pole, front-to-back, and total nine locations around downtown on Spring Street and some along Court Avenue.

Ellis said the hope is to have the boxes installed before Kentucky Derby in early May.

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