The NoCo Arts & Cultural District could be home to the Depot, a new entertainment venue, if funding can be secured. Submitted photo
The NoCo Arts & Cultural District could be home to the Depot, a new entertainment venue, if funding can be secured. Submitted photo
JEFFERSONVILLE — The most significant addition yet to the NoCo Arts & Cultural District called the Depot — would include a sprawling outdoor entertainment venue with a variety of attractions. Restaurants and shops would occupy repurposed storage containers surrounding a stage for open-air performances in the downtown complex, which is located between Michigan and Court avenues and Spring Street. In order to bring the plan to fruition, Arts & Cultural District officials are seeking $1 million.

Dawn Spyker, Jeffersonville public arts administrator, said the Depot would not only provide a gathering place for visitors and residents alike, but also pay homage to the city's past.

"The name the Depot connects closely with our history to the Big Four Railroad and the depots that would be used for that," Spyker said. "It will be a multi-faceted area that includes a stage, some restaurants that can basically be interchanged every couple of years, some artisan cubes for local artists to sell their work, public restrooms, and a nice, big grassy area to watch performances and socialize."

The venue would join the Arts & Cultural District's other offerings, including the Clark County Museum, the Vintage Fire Museum and several art installations.

"We're thinking of the Depot as the keystone that holds everything together," Spyker said. "We have a lot of fantastic elements that make it worth going to already, but this is something that will be an anchor. We need something where we can hold outdoor performances. We need some place for people who are walking through the city to stop and get some refreshments or relax. More importantly, we think it'll bring it all together. Design-wise, we are striving to work with designers to make sure it fits with the feel of the area. It's very bright and vibrant, and we want to keep it that way. It's fun and delightful, and it invites people to explore."

According to DeLynne Rutherford, grants administrator for Jeffersonville, the next step of the process is to submit an application to the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau for financial support from the Capital Development Tourism Fund. Money from a previous application was used for the district's original construction.

"The Arts & Cultural District was just declared [part of the Statewide Cultural District Designation Program] by the state, and there are only about 10 in all of Indiana," Rutherford said. "It's taken a lot of us working on it over the course of seven years. It's basically been a redevelopment and art project partnership. It was a very long process. We got funding and used it for other things the first round, and that was our first million. This round will be the same process. We fill out the application, we go present before their board, and they make a decision."

Spyker said that she hopes to see construction begin this fall. If all goes according to plan, events at the Depot could kick off by next spring.

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