News and Tribune

October 18, 2013

New Albany City Council questions administration about projects

Several infrastructure projects on the docket

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — New Albany City Council members again pressed the administration on the progress of several infrastructure projects this week.

The Mount Tabor Road, Slate Run Road and Captain Frank Road projects are in varying levels of design, but are still at the least being considered by the administration, David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city, told the council during its Thursday meeting.



MOUNT TABOR ROAD

The administration along with engineers for the estimated $3.9 million Mount Tabor Road project are reviewing the design for the proposed improvements, Duggins said.

In September, the city held a public hearing on the project where several residents voiced their opposition to the plans.  One of the main concerns expressed was over the roundabout planned as a replacement to the existing four-way stop at the intersection of Mount Tabor Road and Klerner Lane. Since that hearing, Mayor Jeff Gahan announced he’s willing to consider modifications to the project once the public input period ends.

Also, council members such as Scott Blair have stated they would like to see the design of the project revisited to possibly shave some of the cost and scope of the improvements.

The project, if completed, will be footed with 80 percent federal funding.



CAPTAIN FRANK ROAD

Councilman John Gonder, a Captain Frank Road resident, said his wife was walking along the street recently when she was almost sideswiped by a passing car.  The street doesn’t have sidewalks, and Gonder pushed for some plans to be presented to add walking paths along Captain Frank and other roads in the city that are risky for pedestrians to traverse.

“I think we’ve got our priorities messed up when we let safety issues like that go wanting,” Gonder said.

He added the city has funds to complete such improvements because it is the process of funding three large quality-of-life projects.

Duggins said he met this week with engineers from Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz to discuss an “idea of design” for a sidewalk on at least one side of Captain Frank Road. Duggins said that with sidewalk projects, the biggest expense is typically right-of-way purchases.

The preliminary ideas for adding sidewalks will be presented to the New Albany Redevelopment Commission soon, Duggins added.



SLATE RUN ROAD

Talk about projects in other districts led Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti to ask Duggins about the status of the delayed Slate Run Road improvements.

“We’re looking at the scope of the project,” Duggins said. “We’re looking at maybe phasing it.”

The Slate Run Road project has been in the works for a few years, but it was delayed after Gahan took office.

Benedetti said Slate Run Road had been in planning before other city projects that are now in design or nearing construction.



BICENTENNIAL PARK ART

The Arts Council of Southern Indiana has donated a sculpture by the late artist Barney Bright to the city, and it will be placed at Bicentennial Park.

The statue will be unveiled during a ceremony at 5 p.m. Thursday at the park, which is located at the corner of Spring Street and Pearl streets. The sculpture was originally donated to the Arts Council by PNC Bank, and will be permanently  loaned to the city for display at Bicentennial Park.



TRUNK OR TREAT ON THE WAY

After last year’s event drew more than 2,000 kids to the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater, the city has decided to again host Trunk or Treat.  The event will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the amphitheater. There will be Laser Tag, a costume contest and, of course, candy for the kids.

As the name of the event suggests, kids decked out in their costumes make their way from vehicle to vehicle where they receive candy. The city is looking for businesses and organizations willing to take part in the event. There’s no cost to join, but participants are asked to bring plenty of candy to hand out.

At 8 p.m., the movie “Hotel Transylvania” will be shown.

For more information, call 812-948-5333.