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Posted on Fri. Nov. 23, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

Methane-powered art studio planned

JEFFERSONVILLE — A southern Indiana landfill could soon be fueling creative endeavors under a plan approved by a Clark County panel.

The Clark County Plan Commission has approved a rezoning request that will allow methane gas collected from the Clark-Floyd Landfill to be pumped across the street to an artists’ studio that’s scheduled to be built.

The gas pipeline will be connected under the road to the new site being built by Louisville-based Ohio Valley Creative Energy’s Sustainable Arts and Education Center.

The group is in the process of acquiring the property.

Shane Corbin, director of planning and zoning in Jeffersonville, said Hoosier Energy recently awarded the arts group $25,000 so it can begin building a studio. The group hopes to start with ceramics and add glass blowing and metal forging down the road.

“A glass blower pays up to $100 an hour to rent a studio,” Corbin said. “We have the access to free energy.”

The group hopes eventually to offer classes and studio space to artists and add an orchard, greenhouse, butterfly garden, pond and greenhouse.

“We’re just about to get our foot in the door as a major art organization,” Corbin said.

Some residents say they’re concerned that rezoning the land will lead it to become a parking lot, and they want limits on how much of the site can be paved.

“I’m afraid with heavy industrial (zoning) that it would be turned into a parking lot,” said Travis Takami, who has lived nearby for about 20 years. “That goes against the original intent, and it’s not in the best interest of the community.”

Some residents say they’re worried the rezoning is part of a plan to expand the landfill.

Brian Sweeney, who lives with his parents on property adjacent to the site that could be rezoned, said contractors set up an office there at one point. He’s concerned that the landfill will use it again.

“We need to make sure that that’s the only thing that can happen on that land,” Sweeney said.

A final decision on the rezoning request is expected at the Dec. 13 meeting of county commissioners.

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