News and Tribune

Letters

November 20, 2013

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Nov. 21, 2013

Reader: Others contributed to downtown

This letter is in response to the Nov. 14, 2013, column by News and Tribune editor Shea Van Hoy regarding the downtown New Albany YMCA.

For the record, I am a member of the New Albany Y and have supported it from the very beginning. However, one project, regardless of how large or important it is, does not become the sole catalyst for a redevelopment effort. There were, and still are, many projects, organizations and people who are responsible for the renaissance of Downtown New Albany.

Develop New Albany, the downtown development organization which has been in existence for decades, took on the responsibility of renovating the White House building on Pearl Street and the Second State Bank of Indiana/Red Cross building on Main.

Individuals purchased vacant and deteriorating buildings and refurbished them, such as Brenda and Larry Scharlow, who brought the old Grand Theater back to life as a major meeting and event venue. Merchants such as J.O. Endris Jewelers, Schmitt Furniture and Kaiser’s Tobacco made a decision to stay in the downtown when others were moving to the suburbs.

Many volunteers gave of their time and talent to work on the Develop New Albany Board of Directors or served on its committees, including the Restaurant Task Force formed years ago.

There were the early entrepreneurs who took risks in starting new businesses, sometimes failing in the process. One could arguably say that the individuals and businesses of the 19th century who built such wonderful, and now historic buildings, where many of the new businesses that thrive in the downtown are located, were also part of the process.

Yes, the YMCA has been a very important part of the resurgence of downtown New Albany but let us not forget that it has been a long journey with vast investments of time, talent and money by many that have gotten us where we are today.

— Nick Cortolillo, Floyds Knobs

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