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August 23, 2013

The state of Slate Run Road

Residents vocal about project, but status of Slate Run improvements uncertain

NEW ALBANY — For Debbie Webb, the traffic speeding on Slate Run Road is about the only thing that seems to move quickly in New Albany.

She attended a public hearing about three years ago where city officials detailed a plan to improve Slate Run Road.

But besides design work, little has been done since.

“The city drags its feet on everything,” Webb said Tuesday. “Why would you call a public meeting and tell people this is in the works and then just let it die?”

Webb isn’t the only resident questioning the status of the estimated $4 million project. However, David Duggins, director of economic development and redevelopment for the city, said this week a timeline for starting and completing the project hasn’t been set.

“We’re in the review process and we’re looking at the entire project scope,” Duggins said.

He provided a similar answer to New Albany City Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti last month when she questioned the status of the project.

Change in administration

Tax-increment financing funds were to be used to foot the upgrades, which puts the New Albany Redevelopment Commission in charge of the project.

The five-member commission includes three mayoral appointments.

In 2010, Mayor Doug England’s administration publicly backed the project, which was to include the installation of curbs, gutters and sidewalks along the bulk of Slate Run Road.

In 2010, the commission also OK’d adding bicycle lanes from Charlestown Road to Terrace Court along Slate Run Road.

In 2012, Mayor Jeff Gahan took office, and his administration has proposed its own plans and projects that would be footed with TIF funding.

At the top of the list were the quality-of-life projects approved by the city council earlier this year. The Charlestown Road TIF district will be tapped to pay back a portion of the debt on the projects, which include the addition of a multiuse recreational facility off Silver Street.

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