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January 21, 2006

About the Ohio River Greenway

The Ohio River Greenway could take significant steps forward in 2006, 13 years after the commission that oversees the project was formed.

Rick Dickman, the Greenway’s coordinator, believes it might be seven to nine years — depending on funding — before the $57 million project, which will run seven miles and link New Albany, Clarksville and Jeffersonville at the Ohio River, is completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But he sees this as an important year in the process.

The Indiana Department of Transportation has made $1 million available to Jeffersonville, to match federal funds for work there. Once the Corps of Engineers receives the state money, it could move forward with construction contracts, Dickman said.

While 95 percent of the proposed Greenway route is already publicly owned, Dickman said, this could be the year that Clarksville takes the first steps to acquire at least some of the privately-held property that is on the route.

The Napier Unrecorded Subdivision will have to be appraised, and offers made to property owners there, Dickman said. The subdivision, which is largely used as a summer camp by several families, is a short distance west of where a portion of Emery Crossing Road collapsed in 2004. The camp’s bank is already showing signs of erosion, he said, and must be bolstered before more of it slips into the river.

In New Albany, city officials are lining up meetings with project engineers Sasaki Associates, of Watertown, Mass., to further progress there. There is also a move under way to utilize the K & I Bridge as a pedestrian and bike path connecting to Louisville’s west end, just as the Big Four Bridge is planned as a similar path connecting Jeffersonville with Louisville’s downtown.

“It is really a grand idea,” Dickman said of the K & I Bridge’s use to complete a loop between Southern Indiana and Louisville. “It was not contemplated in the original design for the Greenway.”

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