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January 11, 2013

New Albany mayor requests Horseshoe funds for aquatic center, baseball fields

2012 Horseshoe board still seated as dispute continues over appointments

NEW ALBANY —  New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan has requested funding grants from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County that would be used to foot an outdoor aquatic center and Little League complex.

Though not detailed plans in terms of locations and exact costs, the administration submitted the two proposals for Horseshoe grants prior to a Dec. 31 deadline for major projects.

Rough estimates provided by the administration put the cost of the aquatic center between $8 and $9 million.

Phase one of the Little League complex would cost about $5 million, and would include 5 baseball diamonds as well as dugouts, parking lots and restrooms.

Phase two of the facility, if funded, would include softball fields and other amenities.

A specific site for either project hasn’t been released, as Gahan said multiple sites are still being considered. As part of its agreement with Floyd County when the two sides ended the operation of a joint parks department late last year, a portion of Sam Peden Community Park has been reserved as a potential site for the aquatic center.

New Albany Little League officials have sought a new complex for several years due in part to the cramped conditions of the fields off Mount Tabor Road.

Gahan said the New Albany Little League has outgrown its current facility, and there are traffic, parking and safety concerns associated with the location.

“During the campaign for mayor, that was a concern that was brought up on a regular basis,” he said.

However, there’s no guarantee the Horseshoe board will agree to fund the grant requests, as more than a dozen major proposals were submitted to the body for review.

City officials have said there’s about $20 million in the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County’s coffers, however, a portion of those dollars are encumbered.

Next week, the Horseshoe Foundation will make the 11th of 20 payments of $1 million toward the bank note on the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana, leaving the organization on the hook for another $9 million.

In addition to the 4-year scholarships awarded annually by the Horseshoe Foundation, the organization is also still making payments on a $500,000 grant to Hosparus for a new building, a $400,000 grant to Ivy Tech Community College for its capital campaign and a $400,000 grant to BridgePointe Services.

The Horseshoe Foundation also approved $150,000 this week to be spent on safety speaker systems for the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp.

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