NEW ALBANY — Crews came in Wednesday morning, ready to tear down old, unused buildings near the Ohio River Greenway in New Albany, the first step forward in the New Albany Shoreline Project.
It’s part of a plan to transform the riverfront and drive more people to the area.
“Really excited about it, it’s a big day for New Albany,” New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan told newsgathering partner WAVE 3 News.
Near the corner of Main and Silver streets, crews were tearing down decades of aging infrastructure.
“The blight has been slowly creeping in for probably about 25 years,” Gahan said. “But now, that’s all going to change.”
The city is working to tear down the empty, unused space in New Albany. The 10-acre demolition project is expected to take a few weeks, and when it’s done, there will be space for residential and greenspace. It’s all part of a larger project to expand the Ohio River Greenway down the riverfront.
Where crews are working will be zoned residential for new apartments or townhomes. Near the greenway, greenspace will be added for possible new playgrounds and splashpads or an overlook.
Crews are already busy working to build the Flow Park, a new skatepark near the amphitheater. Down the road past the Sherman Minton Bridge in the former recycling center, the city is expanding its riverfront amenities there, with plans drawn up for the possibilities in the 26-acre space.
“Some boating opportunities, some marina opportunities, some camping opportunities as well as just greenspace to get out and enjoy the river,” Gahan said.
A new riverfront promenade, overlook and grand pavilion are being considered. These and other plans for what would go in the new riverfront greenspace aren’t final; community input and suggestions for the plans are needed before anything becomes reality.
The New Albany Shoreline Project is something the city has been working toward since 2015, slowly buying back massive chunks of riverfront property as it works to give the community something they can use and enjoy for years to come.
“When you remove some of the blight, remove some of the industrial areas that have come between the city and the river, when we get that out of the way and people can see firsthand just what a wonderful jewel we have, there’s no doubt there will be more people who want to spend more time in New Albany,” Gahan said.