News and Tribune

Clark County

March 7, 2008

Greenway awarded environmental assessment

Study will look for potential problems with contamination

The Ohio River Greenway trail in New Albany has been selected as one of four projects to receive an environmental assessment after being approved by the Indiana Finance Authority.

The New Albany pedway and the other projects are part of the first round of assessments through the Indiana Brownfields Program’s Trails and Parks Initiative.

According to Jim McGoff — the finance authority’s director of environmental programs — the assessment is designed to uncover any contamination issues with greenways.

“We assume that the reason they made an application to our program was the possibility of environmental issues at the site,” McGoff said. “It is offered to all Indiana communities to get their trails assessed so they can move forward with their masterplan to create trails.”

The Ohio River Greenway site will be redeveloped into a multiuse path that will connect two nearly completed adjacent segments. When it is complete, the greenway will include more than 7 miles of trails along the riverfronts of Jeffersonville, Clarksville and New Albany.

If the assessment reveals any contamination, it would have to be cleaned up before the greenway could be completed. McGoff said the authority offers grants and programs to help with clean-up expenses if needed.

Sometimes clean-up is not necessary, he said. Instead, building an asphalt path as opposed to a gravel trail can take care of issues. He said the reason for the assessment is to make sure residents can enjoy the greenway without fear of health problems.

In 2005, Gov. Mitch Daniels established the finance authority — which manages the Brownfields program — to more effectively handle state-related finances. The Parks Initiative is funded by two $200,000 grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which were awarded to the state in 2007.

There also is $200,000 in matching funds provided by the finance authority.

Creating more walking space for communities was the goal behind the Parks Initiative, with New Albany taking part in the process.

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