News and Tribune

Lifestyles

June 2, 2014

MAKING A BIG SPLASH: New Albany dives into $7.6 million aquatic center project

NEW ALBANY — New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan has shoveled quite a bit of dirt lately.

From stormwater system upgrades to road projects, he has donned a hard hat and smiled for the cameras during multiple groundbreaking ceremony in recent weeks.

On the floor of what was once the shallow end of the Camille Wright Pool, Gahan scooped a symbolic load of dirt Monday to signify the start of one of the biggest quality-of-life projects the city has seen or funded.

An outdoor aquatic center — with a budget of $7.6 million to be paid back with tax-increment financing funds — will be constructed on the Camille Wright Pool property, which has been closed for more than five years.

Krempp Construction of Jasper is building the facility, and it’s expected to open in May.

Not only will the aquatic center bring a new entertainment option to New Albany, it will give families a source for recreation and improve health and wellness in the community, Gahan said.

“Additionally, it brings a lot of new life to this abandoned facility,” he said.

David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city, said there have been discussions between New Albany and the YMCA of Southern Indiana about managing the aquatic center. He added that no plans have been agreed upon by the sides.

Daily rates are expected to be $7 to $10 for local residents with discounted individual and season passes available. Pools in Jeffersonville, Clarksville and Sellersburg charge $5 admittance for residents of their respective municipalities.

Duggins said the city hasn’t discussed calling the facility a different title than the New Albany Outdoor Aquatic Center, though he added that may be a topic that is considered in the months to come.

Demolition of the former pool began a few minutes after the groundbreaking ceremony ended.  

New Albany City Council President Pat McLaughlin credited the administration, New Albany Redevelopment Commission and council for working together on the project.

McLaughlin lamented the fact the city has been without a public outdoor pool since Camille Wright closed.

“The past five years, we’ve had nothing to offer our kids,” he said.

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