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March 11, 2014

Sidewalks, trees being removed along Main Street in New Albany

Canopy changing, but city will hold tree tour

NEW ALBANY — The East Main Street improvement project is in full swing.

MAC Construction & Excavating crews have been removing sidewalks near East Fifth Street and Vincennes Street since Monday ahead of stormwater and sewer infrastructure installations planned for next week.

Perhaps most noticeably, dozens of trees have been removed from along East Main Street. New trees will be planted to take their place, but there are some barren spots in the right-of-way in some places.

“The tree removal is probably going to wrap up this week,” at least on the south side of East Main Street, said Wes Christmas, engineer with the city-hired firm Clark-Dietz.

He stressed that the public can stay updated on the project — which is slated for substantial completion in September — by visiting the website eastmainstreetproject.com.

One of the biggest features of the project will be the installation of grassy medians on Main Street between East Fifth Street and Vincennes Street.

The $2.4 million in improvements are being footed primarily through Ind. 111 relinquishment funds acquired by the city in 2010.

PLANTER APPROVAL PENDING

A request to add 42 planters in downtown and midtown remain tabled.

Irv Stumler, president of Keep New Albany Clean and Green, requested the Board of Public Works and Safety allow the additional planters to be placed in right-of-ways last month.

Street Commissioner Mickey Thompson, who is also a board of works member, said the city fielded some complaints about some of the locations of the existing 60 planters in the area.

One of the concerns expressed was that pedestrians were having trouble accessing cross walk signal buttons due to some of the planters, Thompson said.

The city needs to review the proposed locations for the new installations and the complaints about the existing planters before moving ahead, he continued.

Stumler again asked for Thompson to schedule a time when they could review the locations, as he added that the planting season will arrive in a few weeks.

“We just need to move on with it so we can get planters in time to plant by mid-May,” he said.

TREE TOUR PLANNED

Though the East Main Street canopy is temporarily being scaled back for an improvement project, there are still other beautiful and historic trees in downtown New Albany worthy of viewing.

With that in mind, the New Albany Tree Board and the Purdue University Floyd County Extension Office are partnering to present a tree tour April 25, which is Arbor Day.

The tree board still has to approve the tour, but it’s slated to begin in the parking lot of the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana, include portions of State, Spring and Market streets, and end at Bicentennial Park.

“We haven’t finalized all the details yet, but it will be free,” said New Albany Chief Planner Krisjans Streips, who is the administrative representative on the tree board.

City Arborist Greg Mills will lead the tour, and provide information about the different types of trees along the route. The tree board is expected to vote on the tour plan today, and more details about the time and length of the event will be released to the public.

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Theater students rehearse a scene from "Seussical the Musical," directed by Silver Creek Theater Director, Alonzo Richmond, and New Albany Theater Director Amy Harpenau at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater Thursday evening. The musical includes around 70 students from 12 local schools that will be performing Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

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