NEW ALBANY —
Those who spoke in favor of the pool design during the public comments portion of the meeting were either members of the administration or New Albany Parks Department appointments.
Parks board member Greg Henderzahs said it’s time for New Albany to move forward with the aquatic center, which is estimated to be completed by the summer of 2015.
“This is an opportunity,” he said. “For so many years we have become stagnant.”
Gahan told the council that the projects will help “redevelop and reinvigorate” physically depressed areas of the city.
He also encouraged the council to approve the designs without more delay.
“These projects will make New Albany an even better place to live and call home,” Gahan said.
Council members Diane McCartin-Benedetti and Kevin Zurschmiede voted against the resolution. Zurschmiede said the council would be “missing the boat” if it chose not to listen to the concerns of the public.
“By far and away, the vast majority of the constituents I’ve talked to are against the pool idea,” he said.
Even Councilman John Gonder, who voted in favor of the designs, said the aquatic center could be more complete.
“I do think we’re selling the public short with this,” he said.
Gonder requested Gahan meet with local education officials to determine what it would take financially to open school pools to the public, to which the mayor responded that he would.
Several members of the council also pledged to revisit the design for a possible amendment to include six or eight lanes at the aquatic center for lap swimming.
As designed, the estimated $8 million to $9 million facility will have three lanes.
The multi-use recreational center is to be located at the former Hoosier Panel site, and the Binford Park project will entail irrigation improvements, additional lighting and the leveling of fields for soccer and youth football.