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City leaders apparently back away from idea of closing the alley

closing the alley A pickup truck approaches the alley from the west as a white car prepares to turn right onto Bankhead St.

New Albany city officials’ consideration of closing the downtown alley that runs from Main Street to Bankhead is apparently off the table. Support for closing the alley evaporated within a few hours of the time NAnewsweb.com posted a story about it.

The proposition of closing the alley was placed on the agenda of the April 3 meeting of the of Board of Alderman by First Ward Alderwoman Amy Livingston. When the item came up for discussion during the board meeting, City Attorney Regan Russell advised that there were legal issues involved with closing the alley, which he wanted to explain to the board during its regularly schedule Executive Session. No action was taken during the public meeting.

At 11 a.m., Thursday, April 12, NAnewsweb.com posted its story about the proposal, including information not covered during the board’s public discussion. Also included in that article were statements about the proposal which NAnewsweb.com obtained from each of the city’s five aldermen.

Within an hour of that posting, talk about closing the alley had, to use a currently popular buzzword, “gone viral.” By mid afternoon Thursday and into the evening and following day, closing the alley was the topic of hundreds of lunchtime conversations, cell phone calls and texts, and social media postings.

There is no way to know all the opinions expressed about closing the alley, but one source from which a rough estimate may be made are the host of comments resulting from over 50 Facebook “shares.” Opinions ran more than ten to one against closing the alley.

Early Thursday evening, April 12, Alderwoman Livingston posted this comment, copied directly from her Facebook post: “ya’ll, closing a city street (alley) is actually a very complicated process. It’s not going to happen unless someone pushes it. It was brought up as an idea because of safety concerns and people voicing concerns about the speed bump, 5 signs and mirror to keep it open. It also does not help with traffic flow and MDOT would prefer it closed, but MDOT also wants us to move our cars out of the middle of the street. I know how y’all feel about that…ha ha. Anyway, carry on. no alleys closing anytime soon.”

Alderwoman Livingston posted an additional comment, Sunday, April 15, 2018, also copied directly from Facebook, which said: “Hi everyone. Thanks so much for your input. Please note that this topic was discussed for about 10 seconds by me in the board meeting after all other city business. It wasn’t a big deal at all. It’s actually very complicated to close a city street, and won’t be pursued unless it’s part of a larger infrastructure plan. I often have a list of things that citizens have asked me and I try to bring them up at each meeting. It is difficult to prioritize without a comprehensive strategic plan–something I would love to see but have been met with resistance. I will continue to prioritize the best that I can with the information that I have. My current priorities for WARD 1 (according to my constituents) are: clean (clear) water, a play ground in our ward (probably northside area), better sidewalks, better streets/roads. If you are interested in helping with any of these, please call me at 662-523-4766. or ward1@visitnewalbany.com!! Thank you.”

For NAnewsweb.com article on possible alley closing: http://nanewsweb.com/city-board-considering-closing-alley/

 

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