News and Tribune

Clark County

December 13, 2013

Ohio River Greenway likely landing $1M donation

Horseshoe Foundation considering a matching grant

NEW ALBANY — The Ohio River Greenway Commission likely will be the recipient of a $1 million donation for riverfront improvements in New Albany.

On Thursday, Greenway officials presented the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County with a grant proposal for the organization to match the $1 million donation. Greenway Commission Project Coordinator Shaunna Graf said Friday she couldn’t confirm that the donation had been made, but said the organization has “many conversations with various donors all the time.”

She did confirm that the presentation was made to the Horseshoe Foundation about some “hopeful contributions to the Greenway project.”

“I think in the very near future we’re hopeful for a lot of really positive things to happen,” Graf said.

She added she would make a public announcement if and when the donation is confirmed.

Jerry Finn, executive director of the Horseshoe Foundation, also confirmed a presentation related to matching a $1 million private donation was made to the organization’s board.

“There has been no official announcement because we’re still working out details,” Finn said. “The presentation that was made to us was a request that would benefit Floyd County.”

Horseshoe Foundation board meetings are not open to the public.

New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan — who is a member of the Greenway Commission and the Horseshoe Foundation board — declined to comment on the matter, citing pending Horseshoe action. New Albany City Councilman John Gonder also is on the Horseshoe Foundation board, and he said Friday the $1 million donation appears imminent.

Greenway officials “did make the presentation and it would be something that if finalized I think would be a major step forward,” Gonder said. “It’s a very generous gift.”

Officials said the person who is set to donate the $1 million wishes to remain anonymous.

Gonder added the Horseshoe board hasn’t made a definitive decision on matching the donation, but said he would “certainly support” the grant.

The Ohio River Greenway is a 7.5-mile bicycle and pedestrian path designed to connect Jeffersonville, Clarksville and New Albany. The bulk of the trail in Floyd County has been completed, however Clarksville is attempting to connect its portion of the Greenway to New Albany via a refurbished bridge over Silver Creek.

Gonder said he along with Greenway officials would like to see New Albany connect its walking path to a Louisville trail through the K&I Bridge. The bridge has been closed to the public for several years, but there has been a push recently by area leaders for Norfolk Southern Railroad to reopen the span for pedestrians.

Gonder said reopening the K&I was discussed at length during the Greenway presentation to the Horseshoe Foundation.

Officials declined to confirm what the donor specified the funds to be used for, only that the money would be intended for New Albany projects.

On Friday, the New Albany City Council agenda for the Thursday, Dec. 19, meeting was released. It included an ordinance, sponsored by Gonder, to establish a New Albany Port Authority. In addition to overseeing riverfront development, the port authority could help establish a funding mechanism for maintenance of the Ohio River Greenway.

The port authority could also aid in launching marinas and piers for the New Albany portion of the riverfront, but it was unclear as of press time whether portions of the $1 million donation could be used for such projects.

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ON THE WEB

• Ohio River Greenway — ohiorivergreenway.org

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