Mt. Tabor Road Project to Begin in Summer 2018

The Mt. Tabor Road Project is set to begin construction in Summer 2018. The project will run from the intersection of Grant Line and Mt. Tabor Road to the intersection of Klerner Lane and Mt. Tabor Road. It will include new sidewalk construction, new drainage systems, relocated utilities, and road stabilization efforts along hillsides on Mt. Tabor Road. At the intersection of Mt. Tabor and Klerner Lane, a traffic signal with left-turn lanes will be constructed.

In 2013, the roadway experienced a failure along the north hillside near East Oakwood Drive. The city immediately proceeded with an emergency repair at the road slide in order to keep the roadway safe, but this project will provide a much more long-term fix for the stabilization issues along Mt. Tabor Road.

This is a federal aid project, with 80% of the funds coming from the federal government and a 20% local match.

In preparation of the project and to accommodate utility relocation, a contractor will be trimming and removing certain trees within the right-of-way along Mt. Tabor Road. By performing the utility relocation in advance of the full project, the city hopes to reduce the construction time of the overall project. These trees will be marked in advance. All property owners were compensated for trees that will be removed as part of the project, and the city will make efforts, similar to other areas and projects around New Albany, to repopulate the tree canopy.

“The City is making it a priority to improve the tree canopy,” stated stated Krisjans Streips, Chief City Planner and Tree Board Administrator. “Hundreds of trees have been planted in parks and on the Greenway, and trees will be replaced along the public right of way at a 3:1 ratio. This is a great safety, drainage, and road reconstruction project all rolled into one.”

City Works to Improve Tree Canopy

The City of New Albany has been taking strides to protect and invest in our urban tree canopy. Earlier this year, the city received a $20,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, as party of the 2016 Community and Urban Forestry Assistance grant project.

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*** Read more about the grant here: http://newalbanycityhall.com/home/2017/7/14/city-receives-grant-for-tree-inventory-to-promote-long-term-urban-canopy-strategy ***

As part of the grant, the city initiated a tree inventory to determine how many trees are part of the canopy, in addition to tree boxes and potential tree locations for future plantings. The inventory was recently completed, and 7777 trees and potential tree locations have been identified.

The city is now currently working on a long-term management and maintenance plan for the overall city tree canopy in an effort to grow a healthy, thriving urban forest.

“A long-term strategy is vital to improving the health and future of our hardwood tree population. The residents and our New Albany environment will benefit from these investments for many years to come,” stated Mayor Gahan.

 

Public Housing Update

The City of New Albany, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the New Albany Housing Authority are working together to improve conditions for residents. Here are some of the recent steps taken towards improving medical services, building conditions, and resources available for public housing.

Wellness Center and Medical Office coming to NAHA

At a recent New Albany Housing Authority Board meeting, the board began the process of establishing two new health and wellness focused programs and facilities.

A wellness center will be constructed in the Riverview Tower (500 Scribner Drive), and will be staffed through a continued partnership with Indiana University Southeast. Nursing students will work with residents to learn about healthy living, in addition to helping early detection of illnesses in residents. Nursing students will be given real-world experience, and residents will have the opportunity to learn more about their health and wellbeing.

In the Brown Starks Building, a medical doctor’s office that focuses on general practice and pediatrics will be added through a partnership with Lifespring. In addition to medical staff, a therapist and group therapy room will be available for residents as well, helping improve both their physical and mental wellbeing.

Mayor Gahan praised the initiatives that will focus on the health and well-being of NAHA residents.

“These quality of life improvements will bring much needed health services to both children and adults. Special thanks to IUS, Lifespring, Hope Southern Indiana, and other partners for their support,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.

NAHA Properties undergo Physical Needs Assessment

In May of this year, inspectors visited Parkview Tower and found numerous instances of both mold and roof leaks in the property. These issues were found in common areas, such as stairwells, as well as inside units. Other properties were found to have roof leaks, broken cast iron, massively clogged drain pipes, un-maintained playground equipment for children, and more issues.

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In order to get a full and comprehensive account of the conditions of NAHA properties, the Housing Authority Board voted recently in favor of a Physical Needs Assessment. The assessment will detail physical conditions of each unit, including structural assessment, building systems and components inspections (HVAC, Plumbing, electrical systems, etc.), mold detection, air quality assessments, and other items that will give a detailed look at the conditions of all properties operated by the New Albany Housing Authority.

New Albany Police Department Assigns Resource Officer to NAHA Properties

A full-time, uniformed police officer has been assigned to the New Albany Housing Authority. The New Albany Housing Authority Resource Officer will be on site to help keep residents safe, but will also provide counseling and community building efforts.

Mayor Gahan Addresses Concerns of Residents

"In no way will anyone living in New Albany Housing Authority properties be made homeless through these efforts.

In cooperation with HUD, the City of New Albany and the New Albany Housing Authority are working together on a 10-year public housing improvement plan.

The New Albany Housing Authority is facing a $138 million maintenance cost shortfall since 2010, similar to other housing authorities across the nation. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there is a $26 billion backlog of public housing capital improvements. Additionally, President Trump’s proposed budget seeks to further reduce HUD funding, putting an even further strain on resources to improve the conditions of public housing.

These financial strains, combined with the extreme density and concentration of public housing units, lack of access to important services, and poor conditions of current properties, are exactly why we need to develop a new, sustainable plan for public housing in our community.

I have met with and discussed the challenges facing public housing with officials from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, NAHA residents, the New Albany Redevelopment Commission, the Salvation Army, Southern Indiana Housing Initiative (SIHI), Hope Services, state officials, the Governor, and others.

The city and Housing Authority’s plan is being developed with the best current thinking in national housing policy, and will utilize a mix of housing vouchers and newly constructed units in mixed-income developments. This will help lower the concentration and density of public housing, and will give those who need assistance better access to transportation, jobs, and other important services.

I am very excited about the opportunity we have to improve our public housing inventory in New Albany. There is no quick fix, but our new plan will be fair to all residents and it will result in a better residential experience than we have today." - Mayor Jeff Gahan

Recent Timeline of NAHA Events and Additional Info

  • April, 2016 - In April of last year, the City of New Albany entered into a contractual agreement with Patrick Costigan and CF Housing Group, headquartered in Washington, DC to assist the New Albany Housing Authority in planning a strategy to meet the capital maintenance needs of the public housing authority. As part of this process, along with the creation of an updated comprehensive plan for the city, recommendations have been made for a reduction in overall housing authority units. The new comprehensive plan calls for a reduction of units, along with a decentralization of current units in New Albany. 

  • January 4th, 2017 - The City of New Albany detailed the partnership between CF Housing Group, the City of New Albany, and the New Albany Housing Authority. New Housing Authority board members are appointed.

    “This marks the beginning steps the City of New Albany and the New Albany Housing Authority will be taking to improve public housing. In conjunction with the comprehensive plan and the recommendation of CF Housing Group, we will reduce the density of public housing on HUD properties inside the city limits, improve existing public housing stock, and improve the quality of life for all residents,” stated Mayor Gahan, January 4th, 2017.

    http://newalbanycityhall.com/home/2017/1/4/new-albany-public-housing-plans-advancing
     
  • January 25th, 2017 - New Comprehensive Plan moves to City Council, and is unanimously approved by the Council. The plan details goals for the decentralization and modernization of public housing units.

    http://newalbanycityhall.com/home/2017/1/25/comprehensive-plan-moves-to-council-for-approval
     
  • April 24th, 2017 - New Albany Housing Authority Board passes the Memorandum of Understanding.

    http://www.newsandtribune.com/news/board-opts-for-new-albany-s-public-housing-vision-passes/article_16dd8a02-294f-11e7-ac20-c395f05ed06b.html
     
  • June 12th, 2017 - NAHA Maintenance issues brought to attention of Mayor Gahan

    http://newalbanycityhall.com/home/2017/6/12/naha-maintenance-issues
     

City Council to Vote on Capital Development Bond with Clark/Floyd Counties Convention Tourism Bureau

At their meeting this Thursday, the city council is set to discuss a capital development bond for the Clark/Floyd Counties Convention Tourism Bureau. In June of 2017, the city, in partnership with the Culbertson Mansion, applied and was awarded $825,000 from the Tourism Bureau for the New Albany Visitor and Historic Generator Project. The Culbertson Mansion is currently undergoing many restoration projects, including a full restoration of the home’s original cast iron. As part of the $825,000 award, approximately $231,000 will be applied to the cast iron restoration at the Mansion.

 The Culbertson Mansion

The Culbertson Mansion

The City is aiming to help promote tourism through several additions, including a new boat ramp, additional picnic areas, boat docks, increased walking and running trails, and more along the Ohio River, including updates to the scenic and historic Loop Island Wetlands.

 The Ohio River Greenway

The Ohio River Greenway

The capital development bond will be paid for through the $825,000 grant awarded to the City. There is no financial obligation for repayment of the bond from the city – the Tourism Buereau is responsible and obligated to pay the bond.

“This generous gift from the Tourism Bureau will help restore one of our most historic properties, the Culberston Mansion,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “In addition, the city will continue working towards connecting our citizenry back to our river heritage, and will provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy our Riverfront Greenway.”

City Takes Steps to Save $220,000 Per Year Through Refinancing

At today’s New Albany Redevelopment Commission meeting, the board moved forward with refinancing three outstanding bonds in order to save approximately $220,000 per year. The refinancing proposal will not increase the original term length of financing, and lowers interest rates significantly.

The three outstanding bonds have a current rate of 4.125%, 4.870%, and 5.700%. Under the refinancing package approved at today’s meeting, the rate is 2.500% for all three outstanding bonds, saving approximately $220,000 per year.

“I’m pleased that we are able to refinance these obligations at a much lower rate,” stated Mayor Gahan. “This end of year action will net savings for the citizens of New Albany.”

The proposal will now move to the New Albany City Council for approval at their Thursday meeting.

Police Chief Todd Bailey to Participate in Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

New Albany Police Chief Todd Bailey is celebrating many milestones this year. A few days ago, he turned 50 years old. This year is also his 20th anniversary serving with the New Albany Police Department.

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“There are a lot of great milestones happening for me this year, and so I decided to knock another thing off my bucket list – running my first ever marathon,” stated Chief Bailey.

Chief Bailey, in the past year, has taken up running as a great way to get in shape and improve his health. This past year, he has been focused on improving his health and losing weight. Since April of 2017, he has lost over 60 pounds.

“Ever since I have taken up running, I feel better and healthier each day,” he said.

This Saturday, Chief Bailey will be participating in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, a full 26.2 mile run through the heart of Indianapolis. As part of his preparation for the marathon, he has been raising money from the event in order to support the New Albany Police Department’s holiday celebration. So far, he has raised over $2,000 to give back to the NAPD.

From all of us at city hall, we wish Chief Bailey well on his first ever marathon!