Avant-Garde Breathes New Life into Historic Fire Station in South Clarksville

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CLARKSVILLE, IN (January 20, 2022) – What once was old is new again in the area known to many as old Clarksville.  On Thursday, officials with Avant-Garde Turnstiles cut the ribbon on their new facility at 125 Stansifer Avenue, celebrating the end to an extensive journey.

That site has a long history within the Town of Clarksville, beginning in 1926 when it became home to one of the Town’s earliest fire stations.  The building was demolished in 1977 and a new fire station was built in it’s place.  That new station served the Clarksville community until it was taken out of service in 2019, following the construction of a new station just across the street.

With the opening of the new fire station, the Town of Clarksville officials were left wondering what to do with the old fire station property.  It was extremely dilapidated and most likely to be demolished.

“I remember in 2016 taking an extensive tour of this firehouse and seeing just how much work was needed to renovate it.” said Town Councilman and Redevelopment Commission President A.D. Stonecipher.

Hoping to put the building to good use, the Redevelopment Commission issued a call for proposals from companies which may be interested in renovating the property.  The only company to submit a proposal was Avant-Garde Turnstiles, which was looking to relocate from its home in New Albany to a larger space. The company specializes in secured entry solutions across the globe.  From sales and installation to maintenance and repair services, their company strives to deliver the very best in turnstile security solutions. 

“We started talking about possible locations for our new facility,” said Avant-Garde Founder and CEO Eric Mager. “We started looking in Louisville, but then Karen Henderson convinced me to keep the business in Southern Indiana.”

Henderson is a full-time employee of Avant-Garde, but also serves as an At-Large member of the Clarksville Town Council.  She says when the company was looking to make a move, she felt it was her duty to try to keep the business close to home.

“One of my goals as a council member is to bring new businesses into town, businesses that are going to create a better curb appeal, and also create a lot of jobs for our community,” said Henderson.

According to Clarksville Redevelopment Director Nic Langford, Avant-Garde is a company which fits that description.  As a matter of fact, this project was one of the first projects Langford tackled after being hired by the Town of Clarksville.  As for Avant-Garde, company officials say the business is thriving, adding 10 high paying jobs in 2021 with expectations for more growth in 2022.

“We have other things that we’re looking to do to expand our business here, and we’re going to do everything possible to keep those things right here in Southern Indiana,” said Mager.

Clarksville Redevelopment officials say the opening of Avant-Garde is just the beginning of a much larger vision to redevelop and revitalize South Clarksville.  Just minutes away is the new Bolt + Tie complex, Clarksville’s new Main Street, and the soon to be constructed Current812 building.  The Town is also preparing to create a new street grid on the site of the old Ashland Oil property, in hopes of spurring new development in the area.

“This gives us a taste of what we are capable of doing here,” said A.D. Stonecipher. “It’s a win for the neighborhood, a win for the Town, and for our region.”