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Floyd County

April 25, 2012

Drainage work for former Wesley Chapel site moves forward

Executive session held regarding River View purchase option

NEW ALBANY — With work progressing rapidly at the site, the New Albany Redevelopment Commission agreed to expedite a portion of a drainage plan for the former Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church on Tuesday.

The former church property was purchased in December through a collaborative effort between First Savings Bank and ARC Construction Management LLC.

First Savings Bank plans to locate a branch on the State Street property, and the rest of the development is expected to include retailers and restaurants.

New Albany Stormwater Board vice chairman Gary Brinkworth, whose private firm was selected by the redevelopment commission last year to engineer a basin project centered around the development, said Tuesday ARC is rapidly improving the property and has plans to pave a large portion of the lot soon.

Before that happens, the city needs to install a 36-inch stormwater pipe under the property to eventually connect with the drainage system, Brinkworth said.

The city just learned the paving would be done all at once instead of phases last week, he continued. Due to the urgency of the situation as described by city officials, the redevelopment commission approved a low bid from TSI Paving of just less than $25,000 to install the pipe.

To help facilitate the sale of the property, the city agreed last year to foot a detention basin project to improve drainage in the corridor. The project is expected to have a wide impact on flooding in the area including portions of Green Valley Road near the State Street intersection.

Though some work has started at the development site, Brinkworth said drainage hasn’t worsened in the area. Still, city officials said basin installation needs to be completed before tenants start occupying the property.

“We don’t have a lot of time to spare with the detention basin project,” said John Rosenbarger, public works project supervisor for the city.

The more aggressive time schedule for completing infrastructure at the development “is good news overall but creates a new challenge” in terms of getting the 320-foot drainage pipe installed, he said.

In other development news, the commission held an executive session to discuss renewing for a third time an option for Mainland Properties to buy city-owned property in order to construct the River View downtown development.

Jack Bobo, head of Mainland Properties, purchased an option on the property for $1,000 in June of 2010 for the development, which would be located adjacent to the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana.

The three lots that Mainland Properties placed an option on were attempted to be sold by the redevelopment commission for $1.1 million.

The option was extended for a second year, though there has been some debate over renewing the deal for a third time for the same price.

“I would never agree for a $1,000 option on a million dollar piece of property for a third year,” said redevelopment commission and New Albany City Council member Kevin Zurschmiede earlier this month.

A special meeting is expected to be called by the commission to discuss the matter, as Mainland Properties is still attempting to secure private financing for its estimated $43 million development.

Carl Malysz, director of community housing initiatives for the city, attended the executive session and said material regarding the option was dispersed to commission members.

He said “no action was taken” during the private session.

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