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Discovery Center granted parking variance

As work progresses toward converting the Harrison County Archives Building (the old jail) into the Discovery Center (county museum), Rand Heazlitt, superintendent of the Harrison County Parks Dept., asked the Corydon Board of Zoning Appeals during its meeting March 7 for a variance to increase the distance of off-street parking for the museum.
The town requires parking be no more than 500 feet from a business. Heazlitt, who made the request on behalf of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, asked that it be extended to 900 feet, which would take in the municipal parking lot on the south side of Poplar Street near Capitol Avenue.
‘It’s actually a little less than 900 feet from the Center,’ Heazlitt said.
In response to questions from the board, Heazlitt said the Center will not be a ‘traditional museum’; rather, it will provide a multimedia experience with about seven different variations. He anticipates 7,000 guests to visit the museum, which is expected to open in mid-October, during the next three to five years.
‘It will become kind of an anchor attraction for the downtown area,’ he said.
With some concern about limited parking in town, board member Geoffrey Cooper said they could re-address time limits for parking if it becomes an issue.
Eva North Bates, president of the Corydon Town Council, who was in the audience, said there are plans to develop parking at the proposed Bicentennial Park, the farmers market would have about 60 parking spots and parking at the north end of town is being considered.
Cooper suggested parking could possibly be developed along Water Street.
When board member Les Rhoads asked if any businesses still pay for reserved parking spots, he was told they do.
Steve Porter made a motion, seconded by Cooper, to approve the variance contingent upon reviewing the ordinance. The motion passed 5-0.
Chris Byrd, legal counsel for the board, said a solution might be to remove the 500-foot stipulation from the parking ordinance. He will review it and make a recommendation.
The BZA also reorganized for 2016, retaining Jimmy Pitts as board chairman and Rhoads as vice chair. Jill Timberlake was welcomed as a new board member; she succeeds Patricia Timberlake, whose term expired at the end of 2015.

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