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CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Clarksville Town Council has begun the process to acquire a historic property with the goal of preserving it for potential reuse. The town plans to use eminent domain to acquire the Colgate site, which once housed the state’s first prison and has sat mostly empty since 2008. Council President Ryan Ramsey says the use of eminent domain is a last resort after attempts to negotiate with the property’s current owner, Clarks Landing Enterprises Investments LLC, to redevelop the site failed.

During a news conference last week, Ramsey emphasized the effort is about preservation.

“We did not make this decision lightly,” said Ramsey. “Eminent domain is always used as a last resort when we have exhausted all other options. If we allow the site to continue to degrade for another decade, it would most likely require demolition.”

According to the Society of Architectural Historians, the site was developed in the 1840s as a second site of the Indiana State Prison before transitioning into the Indiana Reformatory in 1897.

In the 1920s, the buildings on the site were redeveloped into a factorY for Colgate & Co., which later became Colgate-Palmolive (NYSE: CL). The company remained at the site until relocating in 2008.

The town says the property has seen “depreciation and degradation” since it was acquired in 2011by Boston Development Group LLC and later transferred to sister company Clarks Landing.

“Instead of being saved and celebrated like these other Indiana landmarks, we have instead been forced to bear witness as the site becomes more dilapidated and blighted with each passing year,” the council said in a joint statement. “Once touted as the key driver for multiple redevelopment plans in South Clarksville, these buildings now serve only as eyesores.”

Town attorney Greg Fifer says the resolution approved by the council is just the first of many steps before the town could acquire the property.

Fifer says inspections of the property must be conducted, followed by appraisals to determine the property’s value. Then, the town must make an offer to the property owners via the courts.

A final decision from the court must be made before the town can take control of the site. Fifer says that process could take up to a year to complete.

Ramsey says the effort would create opportunities for reuse of the buildings on the site, but that is not the immediate concern.

“Our main goal is the preservation of the buildings on the site, the buildings that can still be saved,” he said. “In terms of how those buildings are developed, we don’t care. This is about saving those structures for future generations.”

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Construction of the Current812 mixed-use development in the town of Clarksville is underway. The project is part of the town’s redevelopment master plan to create a Main Street downtown district in what’s called South Clarksville.

Louisville-based Denton Floyd Real Estate Group is the developer behind the 200-unit complex which will offer luxury apartments and townhomes. A two-story restaurant overlooking the Ohio River, 9,300-square-feet of retail space, and a parking structure are also part of the plan.

Current812 will be located next to the newly opened Bolt + Tie mixed-use development in Clarksville.

The South Clarksville Redevelopment Plan was launched in 2015 which attempts to bring more than 1,000 new housing units, modern workspace, and signature hotels to the downtown area.

Construction of Current 812 is expected to be complete by fall 2023.

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Kentucky-based real estate development firm has announced plans for a mixed-use development in Clarksville. Denton Floyd Real Estate Group says Current812 will include 200 luxury apartments and townhomes, as well as a rooftop restaurant and nearly 10,000 square feet of retail space.

The project will also feature a 238-space parking deck for residents and retail customers. The firm says the project will build on the town’s burgeoning riverfront community, which recently marked the opening of the $22 million Bolt + Tie development.

The overall cost of the project is not yet being disclosed. Denton Floyd says the project is estimated to support nearly 300 direct construction jobs and create 18 indirect jobs. Additionally, the commercial component of the project is expected to generate 40 retail and food and beverage jobs.

“South Clarksville is southern Indiana’s newest field of dreams and there has never been a better time to start a business here,” said Clarksville Town Council President Ryan Ramsey. “The Town of Clarksville is thrilled to see this long-term vision of creating a downtown finally coming into fruition. Exciting times lie ahead as the momentum continues to build for more top tier developments.”

The proposal for the project has been presented to the Clarksville Redevelopment Commission, which will consider a final project and development agreement later this month. If approved, construction on Current812 is expected to begin in November with leasing slated for September of 2023.

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Officials in Clarksville will Thursday cut the ribbon on a $22 million mixed-use development. Known as Bolt + Tie, the development in the Water Tower Square business park includes residential space, as well as a coworking space from Indianapolis-based Elevate Office.

Work on the building began just over a year ago. Officials said at the time the project would create the first live-work-play community in southern Indiana. 

The coworking space, known as Elevate Office at Bolt + Tie, opened in late March. The space includes office and salon suites, micro-retail spaces, and various entrepreneurial amenities, such as conference rooms and a pitch presentation area.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will include remarks from Bolt + Tie owner Cory Hoehn, Elevate Office Chief Executive Officer Scott Baldwin and Clarksville Town Council President Ryan Ramsey. 

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The Clarksville Community School Corp. has partnered with Virginia-based K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN) to open a new online public school. The district says the Indiana Gateway Digital Academy will serve students in all 92 counties across the state.

The school received approval from the Indiana Department of Education, and the district says the digital academy will help students in grades K-11 in its first year.

“The end of the 2020 school year was like nothing we’ve ever seen before in this country,” said Dr. Brian Allred, assistant superintendent for Clarksville Community Schools. “We have to find innovative new ways to teach Indiana’s children and this is a great step forward. Clarksville is dedicated to providing top-notch programming that will never leave any student behind. Just like our tagline says, we may be a small school community, but we want our students to have big opportunities.”

The district says all Gateway students will have access to its curriculum and can attend live virtual classes taught by state-certified online teachers. Students are offered courses in the core subjects of math, science, English and language arts, history, and a variety of electives.

“This is an exciting new opportunity for us to help serve the families of Indiana that may be looking for a change in the middle of a pandemic,” said Kevin Chavous, K12’s president of academics, policy, and schools. “We know that Clarksville will be a leader in providing online educational opportunities for families in need and we look forward to this new partnership.”

The 2020-2021 school year starts on August 6, and the district says Gateway is now accepting enrollments.

CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A new mixed-use development project is underway in Clarksville. Indianapolis-based Elevate Office Suites says the new $22 million Bolt + Tie project will feature luxury apartments and commercial space, creating southern Indiana’s first live-work-play community.

The community is expected to open next spring with pre-leasing slated to begin this fall. Elevate Office says it will join the site in 2021.

“Woerner Avenue is a historic street and the former home of some of Indiana’s first institutions, such as the American Car & Foundry and Indiana’s first reformatory,” said A.D. Stonecipher, Clarksville Redevelopment Commission president. “After sixteen years of dormancy, we are proud to invest Clarksville’s TIF District revenues in the Bolt & Tie property, a name that hearkens back to the avenue’s past success in the train car industry.”

The project is being developed by Jeffersonville-based Cornerstone Group with project partners Envoy Inc. of Indianapolis. Plans call for apartments, restaurant space, office space, and shared live-work amenities.

Elevate Office says its portion of the development will include 46 office suites, 23 salon suites, 12 ground floor micro-commercial spaces and a co-working space.

“Elevate Office brings opportunity to small businesses and entrepreneurs by creating vibrant workspaces with the utmost in flexibility,” said Scott Baldwin, president of Elevate Office Suites.

Bolt + Tie is the latest development at Water Tower Square. The 28-acre mixed-use business park with over 30 tenants and 500 employees. The project joins plans for a nearby Aloft Hotel, and the town of Clarksville is investing more than $6 million in infrastructure improvements.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It happens every day in Indiana: online human trafficking.

Now, one state lawmaker is working on a bill to fight it.

Republican State Rep. Sally Siegrist of West Lafayette said some state laws passed this year give victims more protection, and law enforcement more labor and sex trafficking fighting tools. But, she said, it’s time to tackle where much of that demand comes from: online.

The people who buy trafficking victims use the internet as a tool. Buyers meet victims in person and seal the deal to trap people in the labor or sex trade. 

Siegrist said, “I don’t think any of us who haven’t witnessed human trafficking can imagine just how damaging it is.” 

Denise Robinson, chief counsel of investigations for Indiana’s attorney general, said traffickers often find their victims via photos or social media posts. 

“Sometimes by pretending to be a young person themselves. Sometimes pretending to be somebody concerned. In that manner, they’re grooming or finding potential victims,” Robinson said. 

That’s one reason why Rep. Siegrist is working on a bill to combat online human trafficking Indiana. She’d like online illegal activity on Indiana’s internet to be policed for human trafficking. Siegrist said she’s working with an intellectual property security company in Indiana to help figure out how to do that.

“Those online meetings and setting up. ‘I need this many employees of this age range to do these jobs’ wouldn’t be able to happen. Those ads would not appear.”

Siegrist said she believes her proposal would save lives.

“If we can put a dent in the demand, then there’s no need for a supply,” she said. “That is the hope.”

Spotting the signs

Separate from the proposed legislation, Robinson from the attorney general’s office said, “I think in terms of what parents need to look for, from an internet perspective, they first need to be concerned if their child is being very secretive about what it is they’re doing. I know children need their space and they need the ability to express themselves, but the internet is a dangerous place to allow that to occur.”

Robinson said parents should look at what their children are doing online.

“What are you posting? Where are you posting? Are you aware of the dangers?” Robinson asked.

Robinson spoke about other dangers she thinks a parent should look for online.

“Their child coming home and talking about meeting up with new friends. Particularly with new friends who are older. You have a 15- or 16-year-old child, boy or girl, and all of a sudden they’re talking about someone who is 23 or 24 in their life. They have a new boyfriend or a new girlfriend who seems to be older or who is giving them presents. You go into your child’s room and there’s things you haven’t bought for your child. There’s clothing, there’s personal items, there’s jewelry that you know you didn’t buy. You question: ‘How did my child come into possession of that?’ That is a human trafficking grooming technique.” 

Robinson also warned if a child comes home with a tattoo that seems out of place or does not look like something your child would get … or you did not approve it.

“Tattoos, they’re commonly called branding, within the human-trafficking world,” Robinson said. “They’re common. Those are things to look for that may be a red flag that you need to take a closer look with your child.” 

To learn more about how to stay safe online, go to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

For more help on recognizing the signs, go to this page on the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

If a minor is involved in what you suspect to be, call local law enforcement and the Indiana Department of Child Services at 1-800-800-5556 .

If you or someone you know at any age is part of the human trafficking trade, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text “HELP” or “INFO” to 233733. Or chat live 24 hours a day with an advocate.

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) – A southern Indiana civic group’s former treasurer faces charges alleging he embezzled nearly $100,000 intended for college scholarships.

Forty-nine-year-old Keith Sellmer of Clarksville was formally charged last week with 15 counts each of theft and forgery and was released after posting bond.

The News and Tribune reports Sellmer had been treasurer of the Jeffersonville Jaycees when he deposited $100,000 from the sale of a building into a Jaycees bank account intended for college scholarships.

Authorities allege bank records show 11 checks totaling more than $86,000 shifted that money from the Jaycees’ bank account to Sellmer’s personal account.

But State Police say the Jeffersonville Jaycees’ losses totaled nearly $97,000.

Court documents don’t show Sellmer has an attorney who might comment on the case, and he has no published telephone listing.