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February 1, 2013

New Albany City Council may abolish collections at intersections

NEW ALBANY —  Soon charitable organizations and youth leagues may no longer be allowed to collect donations in the midst of busy city intersections in New Albany.

On Monday, the New Albany City Council is slated to take the first and second ballots on an ordinance that would ban solicitations on public right-of-ways. Councilman Greg Phipps is the sponsor of the measure, and said it’s purely tied to safety.

“Generally the collections take place at two of the most dangerous intersections in town,” Phipps said, as he added he’s witnessed collectors including an elderly man nearly be struck by vehicles while asking for money.

“I just think the public right-of-way poses a danger for the collectors and the motorists.” 

On a regular basis the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety is asked to allow groups seeking donations to setup a road block. The intersection at Spring and Silver streets is one of the most popular areas for such collections.

However, even Board of Works President Warren Nash has said the practice is dangerous, and has pointed out the New Albany Fire Department no longer garners donations for the annual Crusade For Children campaign by using road blocks.

Phipps consulted with the board of works about the proposed legislation in December, and received its blessing to pursue the ban.

Councilman Dan Coffey said it’s hard to disagree with Phipps’ ordinance.

“It’s just gotten where so many different groups are [collecting] now, every weekend, and it’s just a matter of time before somebody gets hurt,” he said.

City officials have suggested organizations could negotiate with private property owners to use off street lots for fundraisers.

As written, a violator would face a $100 first-time fine for attempting to solicit funds on a street if the measure is approved. The ordinance will require three readings for passage.

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