The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

State News

March 23, 2014

Historic homes readied for move

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. — Crews are preparing four historic homes that are in the path of a new Ohio River bridge project so that they can be moved to vacant land in downtown Jeffersonville.

Workers are busy raising the Arts and Crafts-era homes on wooden crossbeams in preparation for the move, said Jay Ellis, executive director of Jeffersonville Main Street Inc., which is supervising the project. Once the homes are trucked to the new site in about a month, each will be renovated, he said.

Without the move, the homes would have been demolished to make room for a new Interstate 65 bridge between Jeffersonville and Louisville, Ky., that's part of a larger project that will add two other bridges linking southern Indiana and the Louisville area.

"Not only are we transforming a vacant, ugly lot into a vibrant part of the neighborhood, we're also saving all this material from going to the landfill," Ellis told the News and Tribune.

One of the homes will be turned into the main office for Jeffersonville Main Street Inc., which acquired the land for the relocation project in February after a year of negotiations with a Chicago holding company. The three other homes will be leased out for mixed use.

The project is being paid for by a nearly $500,000 grant that came from a settlement involving a lawsuit filed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation over the bridges project.

The grant money includes acquisition of the lot, moving the four houses and renovating their exteriors, but it includes a stipulation that the houses can't be sold for 10 years.

Although the site is zoned for commercial use, the homes may be rented by residents, shop owners or businesses.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the homes are an important part of his southern Indiana city's historical preservation efforts.

Moore said the home-moving project is just one part of revitalization of Jeffersonville's downtown, which suffered from the effects of urban sprawl until recent years.

"There's a buzz in the air and it's a nice energy walking around downtown seeing so many storefronts that have been closed up for years," he said.

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