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February 13, 2013

Bond path set for pool, baseball park in New Albany

Duplication debate arises over separate Little League, administration plans

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany Redevelopment Commission agreed to a lease financing resolution for capital recreation projects Tuesday, as the city could bond as much as $19.6 million for an aquatic center, a baseball park and soccer fields. 

The New Albany City Council would still have to approve any bond issue for the projects, and the approval of the resolution doesn’t yet tie the commission to any of the proposals. 

Also, the $19.6-million figure along with a 7-percent interest rate are the maximum amounts the city would incur for borrowing the funding, according to private financial counsel that advised the commission on the resolution. 

Essentially, the resolution allows the New Albany Redevelopment Authority to own and fund the projects, and then lease them to the redevelopment commission. 

Tax-increment financing has been established as the source to repay the debt; however there would be a property-tax backup for the bond if it’s ultimately approved. 

But Tom Pittman, an attorney with the Indianapolis firm Barnes & Thornburg who advised the commission on the resolution, said the city has “ample” projected TIF revenues to cover the bond payments if the projects are approved. 

A public hearing on the funding mechanism passed by the commission to potentially foot the projects, has been slated for the body’s March 12 meeting. 

On Monday, New Albany Little League organization officials announced they are committed to building a new baseball and softball complex near the Interstate 265 interchange off Charlestown Road — outside the city limits.

Mayor Jeff Gahan also confirmed his resolve to move forward with a city-funded project that would bring five new baseball fields, possibly to the former Hoosier Panel site off Silver Street. 

During the redevelopment meeting Tuesday, New Albany Little League Vice President Justin Endres urged the body to avoid “competition and duplication” by building a rival facility. 

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