Mayor Gahan Responds to Reports of Hate Speech

Last night the Human Rights Commission held a meeting regarding Nazi and other hate speech stickers being distributed in the city.  Members of the board had two individuals comment on their observations regarding this matter.  It was reported that hundreds of Nazi and other hate speech stickers have been distributed and seen in the city.  To date, two incidences have been reported to police dealing with approximately 8 stickers and those matters were investigated immediately. 

“We take these reports seriously,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.  “I have directed the New Albany Police Department to immediately follow up on the incidents brought forth at the Commission meeting and investigate them thoroughly.”

“We are proud to have one of the few Human Rights Commissions in the State of Indiana to bring these issues to the surface.  Hate speech and hate groups are not welcome in the City of New Albany,” continued Mayor Gahan.  “New Albany is a safe and welcoming community and hate messaging is not reflective of our values of inclusion, tolerance, and respect.” 

In addition, Mayor Gahan stated, “I would encourage the State legislators of Indiana to pass a Hate Crime Bill similar to those passed in 45 other states in this country, which to date our State has chosen not to recognize.” 

Residents are asked to call the police at 812-944-6411 if they see similar stickers so officers can properly document and investigate.

STB Extends New Albany’s Right to Acquire CSX Line for a Trail

rails to trails update.jpg

This past Friday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and CSX extended the deadline for New Albany to acquire the CSX line for a Rails to Trails conversion that would run from New Albany to Bedford.

Under federal law, railroads may allow unneeded rail lines to be converted to recreation trails.  The conversion process is governed by the STB and limits negotiation for a conversion to 180 days.  New Albany had secured authority to negotiate with CSX in August and that authority has now been extended.

Over the last 6 months, the City of New Albany has been working with the communities along the corridor to develop a coalition to acquire the 63-mile rail line and construct a walking/bike trail from New Albany to Bedford.  Radius, a regional economic development organization that works with Washington, Lawrence and Orange Counties has partnered with New Albany in this effort.

Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Trails funding opportunity has energized and accelerated the effort to create a trail.  The City has been working with its partners to prepare an application for funding from DNR and various private sources for the acquisition and construction of the trail. 

“This is the future North-South connection to our Ohio River Greenway, and it is our next phase of growth for outdoor recreation, health, and connectivity,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.

Flood Prep Underway

Pump Plants Activated.jpg

Based on current predictions, the swelling Ohio River will reach 55 feet and put New Albany into “flood stage” tomorrow and continue to rise. Flood Control crews are prepping certain areas that are expected to be affected.

“The safety and well-being of our city and its residents is the number one priority during events like this,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “Critical infrastructure improvements, like the ones we have made recently in flood control protection, really prove their worth during these times.”

Recent Upgrades to Pump Stations

To protect the community, the city rehabilitated 6 pumping plants and 19 pumps in 2014. Motors for all pumps were either completely rebuilt from the ground up or fully replaced. Investments in flood control infrastructure continues, as this year the city looks to invest in a new backup power system to keep all stations running during a severe emergency.

Expected Street Closures from Current Projections

This evening, one pumping plant will come online, with a second and third pumping plant projected to come online by Wednesday. Water Street, near the Riverfront Amphitheater, is currently closed at the boat ramp due to rising waters. Early tomorrow morning, Old Ford Road is projected to be closed at the intersection of Old Ford Road and Armstrong Bend Road. Signage will be placed at both ends of Old Ford Road to notify residents of the closure.

Based on current projections, these are the only roads that will need closure. The Ohio River is expected to crest at 61 feet on Friday, February 15th. Please be aware of Stormwater and Flood Control crews working near waterways, catch basins, affected roadways, and other areas during this time.

Supporting Education

Supporting Education.jpg

Today, Mayor Gahan has asked key staff members to attend a committee meeting this afternoon at the Statehouse to support Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore’s effort to keep his “Promise Program” alive.

House Bill 1596, authored by Representative Ed Clere, would outlaw the use of TIF funds for scholarships statewide for students and would squash Jeffersonville’s Promise Program.

“We wish Mike Moore well and fully support his decision to use TIF Funds for scholarship and workforce development,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan.

Concerns Regarding the Regional Development Authority

RDA Concerns.jpg

At tonight’s city council meeting, One Southern Indiana (the Chamber of Commerce) will present to the council an overview of the Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). 

In light of this presentation, Mayor Gahan wanted to voice some concerns regarding the RDA initiative.

“The current RDA legislation (IC 36-7.6) undermines voters in Indiana,” stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. “As written, it transfers oversight of public funds and projects away from City and County Councils to persons who have not been elected by voters to hold public office. It grants vast autonomy and protections to those who have not taken The Oath of Office and who have not sworn to act in the best interest of the people of Indiana. And, at this time, there is no money to support the RDA and no funds have been pledged by the current members, which could be a good thing. Elected bodies have a history of being accountable to the wants and the needs of the people. Democracy is good, right?”