By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY —
The city took another step toward starting a $7 million project to improve McDonald Lane on Tuesday.
The New Albany Redevelopment Commission approved a $549,000 contract with Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates for right-of-way services for the project.
The commission also OK’d a $931,000 property acquisition contract, with construction possibly beginning on McDonald Lane by May of 2015.
“It will take a year to acquire the property, approximately 90 parcels,” said David Duggins, director of redevelopment and economic development for the city.
Once the properties have been purchased, the construction design will be completed. The federal aid project requires only a 20 percent local funding match, and Duggins said the city’s share for the entire project should be no more than $1.5 million.
The city’s cost for the contracts approved on Tuesday is $296,000.
A public meeting was held last year on the project, which would stretch from Grant Line Road to Charlestown Road.
“It was a very positive hearing,” said John Rosenbarger, director of public facilities projects for the city.
Initial plans call for two roundabouts to be added at the McDonald Lane intersections at Hickoryvale Drive and Oxford Drive.
There’s also plans for sidewalk additions, curb installations and drainage upgrades.
The Old Monon Tax Increment Financing district is being used to foot the city’s portion of the project. According to city officials, Walmart off Grant Line Road is the biggest taxpayer in the Old Monon district.
Brownfields studies approved
The city continues to draw down a federal pool of money for brownfields studies.
The commission approved aiding two property owners by footing environmental studies that will help test for contaminants on the commercial sites.
The former U-Haul business at 2318 State St. will receive a phase two assessment at a cost of about $23,000.
The property also once included a fuel station, and testing for environmental contaminants on such sites is fairly common, according to city officials.
The former Maytag building at 207 E. Main St. will also receive a phase two study.
According to Rosenbarger, the first study phase assists property owners in researching their sites for potential contamination.
If it is deemed that a second phase is necessary, that portion covers sampling of the site.
If contaminants are found on the property, the city can also help the land owner with forming a cleanup plan.
Environmental cleanups of brownfields sites are typically necessary before such properties can be sold.
The city received about $400,000 last year from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for site assessments and potential brownfields remediation plans.
Rosenbarger said the city still has funds at its disposal and is looking for property owners who may qualify.
For more information, email Rosenbarger at email@example.com.