News and Tribune

August 5, 2013

Second New Albany Main Street project hearing set

Engineer: Input led to some changes in plan

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — Planners heeded suggestions as to what improvements should be made along Main Street from residents and have incorporated many of those ideas into a preliminary design for the improvement project, city officials and engineers said Friday. 

The public will have a second chance to weigh-in on the estimated $1.79 million project at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, as the plan to upgrade Main Street from East Fifth Street to Vincennes Street will be on display. 

Wes Christmas, an engineer with the city-hired firm Clark-Dietz, stressed the design is still preliminary. While he said they’re not substantial changes, public input garnered from a May forum on the project led to some adjustments in the initial plan, which was the product of a 2006 Main Street Preservation Association study. 

One of the main changes is the addition of crosswalks at every intersection included in the project. Christmas said architectural and visual aspects of the project have also been tweaked based on some suggestions from the May meeting. 

But the key features of the project remain. 

“We’re still looking at a median, still looking at the intersection bump-outs we talked about, and still looking at some sidewalk and curb work along the corridor,” Christmas said. 

The grassy, raised medians were also a focal topic during the first public meeting, as residents expressed concern over how they’ll be maintained. 

Public input will be accepted until the final design has been approved, but Thursday’s meeting will move the city closer to ending the planning stage for the project, city officials said. 

“We could have a contract for construction yet this year,” said John Rosenbarger, director of public facilities projects for the city. 

Remaining funds from the Ind. 111 relinquishment payment are expected to foot the majority of the project. 

When the city took over a portion of Ind. 111 from Mount Tabor Road to State Street in 2010, the state pledged an additional $500,000 toward improving Main Street. 

The city has notified the Indiana Department of Transportation of the project with the expectation New Albany will garner another $500,000 for the improvements. 

As for Thursday, the public hearing will be held in the third-floor Assembly Room of the City-County Building. The first public forum drew about 50 people, including residents and city and state officials.