June 23--JEFFERSONVILLE -- Downtown Jeffersonville's trend of attracting new restaurants and drinking establishments continued Monday.
The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission voted unanimously Thursday to approve a $50,000 forgivable loan for a new O'Shea's location in downtown Jeffersonville. Commission members Derek Spence and Jamie Lake were absent from the meeting.
The restaurant and bar will locate in a space between Schimpff's Confectionery and Perkfection Cafe on Spring Street.
"It's really exciting to have them come into our downtown," said Redevelopment Director Rob Waiz. "It's going to be a big boost for us. With all of the other restaurants and having O'Shea's come in, things are really coming together. With the walking bridge, with the new restaurants, with the microbreweries, it's just really making Jeffersonville thrive."
Tom O'Shea, co-owner of O'Shea's Irish Pub in the Highlands and Patrick O'Shea's in downtown Louisville, said the recent opening of the Big Four Bridge helped attract his business to Jeffersonville.
"We've always thought that downtown Jeffersonville had a cool vibe. We love the scale of the buildings, the street," O'Shea said. "It's a cool, old town, an historic town, and we've looked to branch out and try to grow for our people. We've got a lot of people that work with us and we look for greater opportunities for those guys and girls.
"Jeffersonville seems so attractive right now with the walking bridge and just the positive vibe, the excitement it brings."
The new O'Shea's location will open sometime between November and March 2015, O'Shea said.
"If we're not going to get it open by mid-November, there's no rush to get it open by December or January," he said.
The new restaurant will be a bit different from the two Louisville locations, O'Shea said.
"It's going to be limited, menu-wise," O'Shea said. "There's going to be a separate bar to the side. That's part of the feel, because that's what we do -- we're pub-ish, but we want to make it less sit-down restaurant. You can come and go, or you can get it for there and sit down. We felt that would be more family-friendly."
The facade of the storefront the restaurant will occupy will be different when the restaurant opens, O'Shea said, and will be designed by Jeff Rawlins with Architectural Artisans, which designed the facades of the other two pubs. The design will need to be approved by the Jeffersonville Historic Preservation Commission, O'Shea said.
The restaurant will be open until midnight when it first opens, but that could change, O'Shea said.
"Depending on what the city needs, what we feel that street needs, we'll evolve," O'Shea said.
"It's great to see an accomplished Louisville restaurateur who has the same excitement and vision for downtown Jeff that so many of us already do," said Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore. "He's a success story, and I've gotten to talk to him a little bit about what his plans are for that, and I think it's a perfect fit for downtown Jeff."
In the wake of a Hamburg Pike construction project that was delayed nine months because of problems with utility relocation, the redevelopment commission decided to get a head start on utility relocation for the 10th Street widening project.
The commission voted unanimously to contract United Construction to coordinate the relocation of utilities along 10th Street. The contract's value is $119,200.
Utility relocation is typically done in conjunction with construction, said City Engineer Andy Crouch. Getting a head start on relocation will prevent delays like the ones that took place with the Hamburg Pike project, he said.
"We're wanting to get that work up-front and ahead of time before the general contractor ever comes in," Crouch said.
Utility relocation cannot take place until all rights of way are acquired and the project is approved by the Indiana Department of Transportation, Crouch said. He said he expects the relocations to take place throughout 2015.
The 10th Street widening and resurfacing project has not yet been approved by the city council, though the utility relocation has, Moore said. Moore criticized the council for not having already approved the project.
"Obviously, the project can't wait while they sit and ponder things," Moore said. "This project's been going on for a number of years. The design phase was started before I even came into office, [and] I've been in office for 2 1/2 years now. It's time for the city council to give their OK for the construction, but I'm not going to wait for them.
"We are doing the property acquisition, we're doing the utility relocation -- which they did approve -- so by the time they say yes, we'll do this, we'll have everything ready to go."
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