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January 20, 2013

New Albany eyes properties for parking

County owns sites due to tax delinquent status

NEW ALBANY — The city is attempting to improve downtown parking by obtaining three properties from Floyd County.

David Duggins, director of New Albany Economic Development and Redevelopment, has had discussions with Floyd County Planner Don Lopp over three properties located off West First Street.

The properties are apparently vacant, as the city has been cutting the grass and filing liens to recoup their expenses on the sites for sometime, Duggins said Wednesday.

State laws now establish county governments as being the responsible entities for dispersing tax-delinquent properties, thus New Albany would need Floyd County to either convey the sites or sell them to the city.

“What I would like to do is work with [Lopp] to take ownership of those because we already maintain them,” Duggins said.

The plan is turn the properties into surface level parking lots. The sites are near the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana, and additional parking to serve the facility has been discussed on several occasions.

Feast BBQ and The Exchange also recently opened off Main Street, and the additional parking could also serve those businesses.

“We’re looking actually at all the area down there for any type of dilapidated properties that we can work with the county and try to take ownership of,” Duggins said. The city requested the county convey 19 tax delinquent properties to New Albany last year. Four pieces of property were of particular interest to the city for its Midtown revitalization project, however, instead of providing them for free, the county requested $26,000 for the land.

Environmental mediation of the three properties New Albany is now seeking may be needed, but Duggins said it wouldn’t likely be a costly endeavor since the proposed use for the sites is parking and not residential or commercial.

Duggins said Lopp had contacted him this week requesting that the city speak with Floyd County Commissioners attorney Rick Fox about the proposal.

Lopp wasn’t immediately available for comment.


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