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Police & Fire News

October 9, 2012

New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board Chair upset over handling of Camille Wright

Property being eyed for fire station

NEW ALBANY — New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board Chair Scott Klink said he’s “offended by the lack of communication” between Mayor Jeff Gahan’s administration and the parks department over the plan to use the former Camille Wright Pool property as a site for a new fire station.

Last week, the New Albany Board of Zoning Appeals approved a special exception permitting a fire station to be built at 224 Daisy Lane, which is the site of the former Camille Wright Pool which was closed in 2008.

The special exception coordinates with an administration economic development plan that would see a private company, likely Kroger, purchase Fire Station No. 4 off Green Valley Road for commercial use.

As part of the deal — which has yet to be completed — the new station at Camille Wright would be footed by the developer who would buy the Green Valley Road fire house.

Klink said the administration never approached the parks board — which has been in the middle of a funding spat between the city and county for the past year — about using the Camille Wright property for the new fire station.

As part of the proposal, the parks board would have to relinquish the property to the New Albany Redevelopment Commission or New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety so that the fire station could be constructed on the land.

“We’re not opposed to the idea, but the fact of the matter is, that property is owned by the parks board,” Klink said.

Community Housing Initiatives Director Carl Malysz — who is heading the city’s plan for the fire station switch — said that while the parks board hasn’t been officially addressed yet, some of the members were aware of the plan before the board of zoning appeals vote.

For example, parks board member Steve LaDuke voted on the fire station location when it came to the Plan Commission for a Sept. 18 meeting, as LaDuke also sits on the plan commission, Malysz said.

He added he’s discussed the matter with NA-FC Parks Director Roger Jeffers as well, though Jeffers said during last week’s BZA meeting he hadn’t seen the plan for Camille Wright until that day.

But Malysz said the administration planned to come before the parks board at its next meeting, but wanted to garner zoning approval before proceeding.

“There’s no cookie cutter process to be followed for something like this,” Malysz said. “There’s issues that involve several governing bodies ... everybody could be upset that they weren’t the first one asked.”

Gahan said he feels the process is following the appropriate course, and that any questions the parks board may have will be answered when the administration addresses the body at its next meeting, which is Monday.

“It seemed obvious if [the plan commission and board of zoning appeals] turned it down, then there wouldn’t be any point in going to the parks board,” Gahan said Monday.

The parks board doesn’t have any plans to reopen Camille Wright Pool, though the property had been discussed as a potential location for a dog park.

But Klink said the county is a partner in the parks department, and that the board needs to be notified of pending actions concerning property or funding so they can communicate accurately with other officials.

“It isn’t just up to the city to decide ‘we’re going to take that property,’” Klink said. “It’s a joint decision by the parks board under the auspices of the agreement that created it.”

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