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Jeffersonville residents: Beautify, develop 10th Street into destination

Master plan to recommend ways to revitalize area
By ELIZABETH BEILMAN Nov 2, 2017

JEFFERSONVILLE — Too many vacancies. Congested traffic. Lack of sit-down restaurants and entertainment.

These complaints and many others were shared at a community session Thursday evening at the Jeffersonville Township Public Library on a plan to revitalize 10th Street, Jeffersonville’s main thoroughfare, that is currently under development.

Consultants hired by the Jeffersonville Planning and Zoning Department briefed about 20 members of the public on their findings about 10th Street so far, but the central objective was to hear from residents.

“Really the point of tonight is to do a lot of listening and asking questions and uncovering these stories, perspectives, experiences that you all have of living and working on the 10th Street corridor of Jeffersonville,” said Joe Nickol, senior urban designer and development strategist with MKSK.

People broke out into groups, marking table-length maps of 10th Street with color-coded stickers. What are the road’s strengths? Weaknesses? And where should revitalization priorities lie?

“We’ve been battling with the traffic situation,” said Elke Wasdovich, who just bought a house off 10th Street and is excited to be a part of the area. “Because of the growth, that’s just a natural side effect of that.”

Jeffersonville resident Ruth Wilson counted vacant properties, “rundown areas” and the appearance of 10th Street as some of its weaknesses.

To enjoy a meal at a restaurant or find entertainment, Wilson said she “spends her money elsewhere.” She hopes that can one day be 10th Street.

“It would be a place to go and do things,” she said, of her vision for a better road. “It wouldn’t be just a thoroughfare.”

Some of the complaints mentioned Thursday night — such as lack of sidewalks and poor lighting — will be partially remedied as part of the city’s 10th Street widening project now under construction. The multi-million-dollar undertaking will add a center turn lane between Penn Street and Dutch Lane, as well as sidewalks and street lighting.

MKSK, along with two other consultants, will spend the next several months studying the corridor and creating an action plan based on public input. The plan will recommend physical changes to 10th Street and come up with an economic development plan based on private market data.

A public survey has already shed some light on what Jeffersonville residents think of the busy street.

Only 10 percent of respondents said they go out to spend an evening on 10th Street. Eighty percent said the corridor lacks entertainment, while 75 percent said non-food shopping (60 percent do that shopping in Clarksville).

Almost a third of 10th Street non-residential properties are currently unused, a rate that’s “pretty high … from what we’re seeing in other neighborhoods we’re working on,” Nickols said.

MKSK and other consultants will take input from the surveys and Thursday’s meeting to create some ideas for what 10th Street could look like in the future. Those ideas will be presented at a meeting in early January. A final meeting in April will present a more narrow scope of recommendations.

“I think it’s good that they’re sharing the vision by asking us to identify what we think the gaps are, what are the potentials … it’s a really great opportunity for us all to own it,” Wasdovich said.

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