By DANIEL SUDDEATH
NEW ALBANY — The city is headed toward a deal with Kroger for the purchase of the Green Valley Road firehouse, though the site for a new station is still uncertain.
The New Albany Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday agreed to foot $64,000 in design expenses for a new firehouse associated with the project.
Kroger is seeking the Green Valley station in order to expand its State Street store, as David Duggins, economic development and redevelopment director for the city, said the deal would benefit New Albany and the supermarket chain.
“This is a good project for us,” Duggins told the commission.
He said the city is asking $1.5 million for the station, and the preliminary design estimate for a new firehouse to replace it is $1.8 million. The store’s expansion alone is expected to add $100,000 to the city’s tax base, Duggins said, as he added there are no incentives from New Albany or the state being offered to Kroger as part of the deal.
However the location of the new fire station is still being determined.
Last year, the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals approved using the former Camille Wright pool property off Daisy Lane for the new fire station. However, several residents in the area disagreed publicly with the plan, and Mayor Jeff Gahan said in January that the Camille Wright property would be better suited for a pool than a fire station.
The administration is seeking to build an outdoor aquatic facility at the site, and some private properties near Camille Wright have been purchased by the city.
But when asked about a location for the firehouse Tuesday, Duggins only mentioned that some properties have been purchased near Camille Wright. He said there are several sites being considered, but he declined to specify their locations due to ongoing property purchase negotiations.
City Councilman and redevelopment member Dan Coffey said traffic could be an issue if the administration elects to build a new fire station near the Camille Wright site.
“I’m not sold on the idea of a firehouse in that area,” he said.
The public needs more opportunities to speak about the project before a final decision is made, he continued.
Duggins said some preliminary proposals for locations have been submitted to the New Albany Plan Commission for review. He added that the redevelopment commission would have to approve the purchase of properties before the city could move ahead with building a new fire station.
The $64,000 approved by the commission Tuesday will be repaid after the property transaction with Kroger is finalized, Duggins continued.
Irving Joshua, president of the redevelopment commission, said the city “will probably come out with a better facility” for a fire station while also adding to the tax base if the project comes to fruition.
The Indianapolis company Axis Architecture will be paid $45,725 for its design work for the new firehouse. Also, local company Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz will receive $19,245 for geotechnical work and site surveying.