News and Tribune

Floyd County

September 27, 2013

New Albany adds parks programs, looks long-term

Bud Flynn Center being refurbished, other projects to follow

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Parks Department continues to add programing, as several fall events and classes were announced this week. From preschool activities to classes and gatherings for senior citizens, the department has boosted the number of programs it offers to the community each season this year.

“We’re listening to the community and they’re telling us a lot of the activities they want to do, and we’re incorporating those into our programming,” Parks Recreation Director Kathy Wilkerson said.

The city launched its own department this year after separating from the joint parks system with Floyd County. In August, Mayor Jeff Gahan hired Alicia Meredith as parks director. Her experience includes managing event operations for the University of Mississippi, and this week she began an inventory process that will gauge the condition of the city parks and suggest ways to improve those facilities.

One facility is already being upgraded, as work began on refurbishing the Bud Flynn Center off East Market Street about six weeks ago. New furniture, carpet and paint have been added to the building, and the first floor of the center will serve as the home to the department’s administrative offices. Those offices may eventually be moved to the new multiuse recreational facility off Silver Street once its completed, but Meredith said the revamped Bud Flynn Center will still be an asset to the community.

“Either way the building will be used by the parks department,” she said.

Though not ready to announce any specifics, Meredith said plans are being made to upgrade other parks facilities. The inventory list — which includes suggestions as simple as picking up sticks to larger projects such as resurfacing basketball courts — will help determine which parks are improved first.

“Eventually we’ll prioritize and make decisions on things that we can and can’t do, and things that are most important to the community,” Meredith said.

Though obviously recreational facilities, the Gahan administration has mainly touted the planned aquatic center, multiuse facility and upgrades to Binford Park as redevelopment projects. The city paid more for parks in 2013 than in recent years, and the department is expected to receive about $939,000 for operational expenses in 2014.

City Council President Pat McLaughlin expects that since a director has been hired, more capital projects will be announced and completed.

“I’m confident that we have excellent people in place with the parks board, and with the new director and of course [Wilkerson], who is such an asset to the community,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we’re really going to have some grand things.”

Gahan said Thursday that the parks board and staff are enthusiastic and community minded, and that he’s pleased with the results of the city department so far.

“The programming has expanded, and there’s a plan to take these activities further into the community,” Gahan said. “I think everybody will see more and more opportunity to participate in the parks.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Floyd County
2013 Photos of the year

Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
2013 Photos of the year

Take a look at our most memorable photos from 2013.