Greater Clark Co. Schools hold open house at proposed transportation facility

Greater Clark Co. Schools hold open house at proposed transportation dept.
Published: Mar. 14, 2016 at 8:28 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2016 at 4:40 AM EDT
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Superintendent Andy Melin (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Superintendent Andy Melin (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CLARK COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - A busy Clark County street could get even more crowded.

Greater Clark County Schools is in the process of purchasing the Clark County Auto Auction on East 10th Street, in Jeffersonville, in hopes of turning it into the district's transportation department.

Replacing the current bus compound, 301 E. 11th Street, is overdue, according to Superintendent Andy Melin.

"Think about your own homes, at 64 years old you either have to do a major renovation or think about moving somewhere," Melin said while hosting a public open house at the property on Monday.

While Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore agreed that the district needs a new transportation facility, he doesn't believe the popular location on 10th Street is ideal. One concern he has is safety.

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Police officers are concerned, according to Moore.

"There is a rail road track just south of the property line and every single bus is going to be stopping at the rail road track after they empty on 10th street," Moore said. "We already have enough traffic."

Moore identified more than 160 buses that would be parked at this address. The district has approximately 80 buses, according to Melin.

If the purchase is finalized, the district would be buying nearly 12 acres, including a lot on the opposite side of the current business. The $3.2 million purchase would provide space for not only buses, but also the maintenance facility that is currently operated out of River Valley Middle School.

"Across the street we would be able to park our 20 maintenance vehicles," Melin said.

This would alleviate occupied space at the middle school, a matter Melin said needs to be addressed.

Several years ago, the school district purchased 25 acres in Jeffersonville. Although this lot sits empty and seems ideal, Melin said the cost to build on it would nearly double in comparison to what they would pay to purchase Clark County Auto Auction property. In addition, the location and commute aren't ideal, according to Melin.

The mayor is concerned about the economic growth that the city could be missing out on if this deal does go through. Moore described $18 million that will soon be invested into 10th Street corridor.

"A portion of the funds will be used to widen the road, add lights and sidewalks," Moore said.

However, the overall goal is to attract new businesses in order to generate new revenue for the city. Businesses will not want to move to 10th Street with the school's transportation department in that location, according to Moore.

"I can't have 163 buses emptying out every morning during rush hour on 10th Street," he said.

Melin argued the school board is also interested in improving the city, and preventing growth and safety isn't what the district is trying to do.

"We will do a great job taking care of the facility," Melin said. "It will be a great property that our community will be proud of."

This topic will be discussed further during a Planning Commission meeting, on March 22. However, the ultimate decision will be made by the city council. The next meeting to discuss this potential purchase, is scheduled for April 22.

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