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February 22, 2013

New Albany council approves sports, aquatic complexes

Edit bond for paving stalled

NEW ALBANY — Mayor Jeff Gahan’s vision of an aquatic center and multiuse sports complex are a major step closer to becoming reality, as the New Albany City Council approved Thursday a lease agreement that will allow a bond of up to $19.6 million to be issued. 

The resolution was approved 6-3, and it consented the New Albany Redevelopment Authority to fund the recreational projects with tax-increment financing revenue and lease the facilities to the New Albany Redevelopment Commission. 

Indiana statutes permit the commission to cast the decisive vote on the bond since it is the body charged with overseeing TIF districts. The redevelopment commission will hold a public hearing at 2:30 p.m. on March 12 and then vote on the adoption of the lease resolution and the purchase of the TIF bond. 

Borrowing the money via the bond is likely to be approved, as the commission already unanimously OK’d the lease agreement with the redevelopment authority. 

If approved by the commission, the bond would fund an estimated $8  to $9 million aquatic center at the former Camille Wright pool site. It would also be used to pay for the construction of a multiuse sports complex at the former Hoosier Panel property off Silver Street and the addition of soccer fields in Binford Park. 

Though the bond could be as much as $19.6 million, administration officials have said the amount will likely be between $16 million and $17 million. 

Council members Kevin Zurschmiede, Diane McCartin-Benedetti and Shirley Baird voted against the resolution, citing concerns with the amount of money being borrowed, the property tax backup for the bond and the timing of the measure. 

The council held a lone work session on the bond Tuesday. 

“I just don’t see why we need to do all of this at one time,” Baird said. 

The city could use available TIF revenue to improve parks gradually instead of borrowing money and increasing New Albany’s debt, she continued. 

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