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February 21, 2013

Residents protest proposed Floyd County ball park

County attorney takes leave of absence

NEW ALBANY — Kevin Pinaire wanted to get his message across to the Floyd County Commissioners on Tuesday night, and he brought along several of his friends for support.

Pinaire and others who crowded the Assembly Room at the Pine View Government Center were there to oppose the idea of building a new baseball and softball complex next to Northside Christian Church along Charlestown Road and near the Interstate 265 interchange. Pinaire — along with other residents of Highland Oaks subdivision near the proposed site — said putting a Little League facility with more than 300 parking spaces and lights in the area would ruin their neighborhood.

“I am not a fan of what is being proposed,” Pinaire told the commissioners. “It’s a huge safety situation for our neighborhood. A huge amount of children play in our neighborhoods because we don’t have a traffic issue — there is one way in and one way out. And 95 percent of the people who purchased their home in Highland Oaks did so because of the seclusion.”

New Albany Little League President Mark Boone announced at a press conference earlier this month that the organization will move forward with the proposal, even if the city pursues its own plan to build a multiuse park at the Hoosier Panel site — which New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan gave details about Tuesday night.

New Albany Little League plays its games at fields along Mount Tabor Road, but the property has been widely seen as inadequate for the organization due to space and safety issues. Boone said at the press conference that the league has a purchase agreement in place with Northside Christian Church for the 33 acres of property, and the first phase of the project — including land acquisition — will cost $3.8 million. It will include six fields.

The commissioners and Floyd County Parks Board recently passed resolutions in support of the Little League project. The commissioners would have to give the project their blessing before it can move forward. It has still not been determined how much money Floyd County will contribute to the project.

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