SOUTHERN INDIANA — A protest over the weekend in downtown Jeffersonville was peaceful between demonstrators and police officers, city officials said Monday night.
“We were all able to come together,” Jeffersonville Police Chief Kenny Kavanaugh said. “Everyone who participated in this gathering, this event, we were able to maintain a conventional order in the city of Jeffersonville.”
Kavanaugh’s comments came during Monday’s Jeffersonville City Council meeting. On Saturday, about 75 protestors marched on Court Avenue calling for more information to be released in an April 29 incident where a Clarksville man died after being shot by an Indiana State Trooper during a traffic stop.
Council members expressed appreciation for how JPD managed the event without leading to any major confrontations such as have taken place in other cities including Louisville.
Councilman Dustin White said JPD protected people’s rights to express their emotions “as they have obviously reached a point where they feel the need to come into the streets of Jeffersonville and voice their opinions.”
“Block by block, the police department protected their constitutional rights with respect to what happened with the Indiana State Police and I’m sure with what they’re seeing on the news with what’s happening nationwide,” White said.
Kavanaugh condemned police brutality specifically referencing the death of George Floyd in Minnesota last week.
“Those types of actions like we’ve seen in Minneapolis — we do not condone that kind of behavior here in Jeffersonville,” he said.
New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey said Monday he believes the department has a good relationship with the community.
“The motto of our police department is partnering with our community,” Bailey said during the New Albany City Council meeting. “A partnership, as you know, is a relationship together. We have a common goal.”
No protests were held in New Albany over the weekend, though some chain stores did close early Sunday. Bailey said he believed they closed due to corporate policy and not because of any planned activity in New Albany.
The protest Saturday began at 4 p.m. and Kavanaugh said it ended at about 9:20 p.m. He said it’s important to protect people’s constitutional rights, including the First Amendment.
Money arrives for Catalyst
The Jeffersonville homeless shelter Catalyst Rescue Mission received notification Monday that its grant funding award via the Family and Social Services Administration Division of Mental Health and Addiction is on its way.
Catalyst Executive Director Jim Moon made the announcement during Monday’s Jeffersonville City Council meeting while providing an update on the homeless shelter.
The shelter will receive $729,000 through the grant, though Moon said previously the funding will not all come in one payment.
In addition to a $50,000 appropriation, the council awarded the shelter an additional $10,000 in order to house new intakes at a local motel during the pandemic. The shelter had used a tent for quarantining new entries to the shelter.
Moon said the additional funding had allowed the shelter to house 28 people in a motel, none of whom tested positive for COVID-19.
“So far, I believe the coronavirus has not really kicked in to the homeless population. I think that’s a very positive thing for public health,” Moon said.
He estimated the shelter will be reimbursed through the Clark County Health Department with grant funds next week, and said the organization should be able to maintain financially until that time.
The New Albany City Council last month voted down a request from Catalyst for $50,000.
Of the 28 who stayed at a motel, Moon said 20 are now living at Catalyst. The other eight remain at the motel. He said as of Monday, there were 100 people living in the shelter.
Jeffersonville Councilman Joe Paris said Moon is a good leader for the shelter.
“I feel like he’s doing a wonderful job,” he said.
Abatements for Northwest Ordinance approved
The New Albany City Council gave a nod to a series of tax abatement for Northwest Ordinance Distilling on Monday night.
The approval makes way for a $40 million expansion at the former Pillsbury plant that will bring up to 50 new jobs to the area.
Councilman Josh Turner cast the lone vote against the abatements, which were approved 8-1.
While he credited the administration for providing some financial information prior to the meeting with the promise of bringing more figures he requested in the future, Turner said he’s concerned about how the pandemic and subsequent construction on the Sherman Minton Bridge will affect area businesses and ultimately, the city’s finances.
He moved to table the vote but didn’t receive a second.
The abatements are for future taxes paid and cash won’t be given to Northwest Ordinance, New Albany Redevelopment Director Josh Staten said.
“If there’s no project, there’s no tax coming in,” he said.
A company official said there will be a slight increase in train traffic due to the expansion, but he said there wouldn’t be a big change in current use and that the tracks are used as more of a reserve for Northwest Ordinance.