NEW ALBANY — Looking back at almost two decades of knocking on doors during election season, New Albany City Councilman Pat McLaughlin said some of his most challenging interactions have come on Schell Lane.
It wasn’t the residents that troubled McLaughlin, but rather having to dodge traffic on the roadway without sidewalks to use.
“Basically if two cars pass each other, and you’re walking, you have to jump a ditch,” McLaughlin told the New Albany Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday.
A few minutes later, the commission unanimously approved a $65,000 design contract with Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz for sidewalk and minor drainage improvements for Schell Lane.
Redevelopment officials said the project is needed and concerns about safety on the road, which connects with Daisy Lane, have been voiced by multiple residents.
“I know the neighborhood seems pretty excited about it,” said New Albany Redevelopment Director Josh Staten, who added that the city council and Mayor Jeff Gahan have also been proponents of the improvements.
Part of the project will include connecting the limited existing sidewalk there with a new pathway. The hope is that construction can start next year.
Commission member Terry Middleton said that with the city footing the design and construction costs, he would like to see property owners donate necessary land easements for the pathway to cut down on additional costs.
The addition of sidewalks will boost property values in the neighborhood and also improve safety, he continued.
Irving Joshua, president of the redevelopment commission, said that issue can be revisited once design work begins, but he added the main goal now is to get the work started.
“If they’d like to make that as a donation, that’s fine, but we want to get this done,” Joshua said.
Extending and adding sidewalks in the neighborhood will increase the walkability of the area and give residents safer access to parks in that part of New Albany, McLaughlin said.
“It’s long overdue and I’m sure they’ll greatly appreciate it,” he said.