News and Tribune

April 24, 2013

Drainage versus development: New Albany weighing selling site that’s currently a detention basin

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY —

The New Albany Redevelopment Commission is considering whether to open a piece of property up for commercial development or leave it as a stormwater detention basin. 

The city-owned property is just less than an acre in size, and is located behind the Kroger shopping center along State Street. 

The commission tabbed engineer Gary Brinkworth, who is also a member of the New Albany stormwater and sewer boards, to perform a study on drainage in the corridor. 

Brinkworth focused on the effect of converting the property to a commercial development would have on drainage, and what infrastructure would need to be added to handle the displaced stormwater. 

Pipes could be added to carry  the water to a different detention basin, which would cost an estimated $385,000 for construction, Brinkworth said during an informational session Tuesday. 

If the property were purchased by a developer, it could cost them as much as $800,000 to replace the detention pond at another site and build another drainage system for their own use, Brinkworth said. 

“They would probably have to have underground detention at that site,” Brinkworth said. 

Recently, local developer Gary McCartin requested the city study the property to determine how much it would cost to transform it from a detention basin to a commercial-use site. 

David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for New Albany, said there have been two proposals received by the city for potential use of the site. 

One project was to use the site for parking for a fast-food restaurant, and the proposal was to build medical offices on the property, Duggins said. 

Brinkworth said it would probably cost around $200,000 just to build an underground detention system for the property. 

He suggested that might be a fair price to charge the developer who purchases the land, as it could go to offset the city’s projected $385,000 expense to divert the stormwater to another basin. 

City officials questioned whether the existing basin is enough to handle the needs of the area, and Brinkworth said there’s some drainage concerns there.

Duggins said the city will have to weigh the benefits of adding property and a business to the tax roll versus leaving the land as a detention basin. 

“There’s a lot of income possibilities there for the city,” Brinkworth said. 

The commission didn’t have a quorum Tuesday so it couldn’t vote on official business. The body will likely hold a meeting on Monday now to vote on a community development block grant plan.