In a unanimous decision, New Albany’s board of aldermen voted to proceed with the application of a $150,000 Wildlife and Fisheries Recreational grant for the development of the riverfront area downtown. The proposed development will include an amphitheater at Park Along the River, new, larger public restrooms, two river access points, as well as an open air farmers market pavilion and associated paths and roads. The $150,000 will be matched from a number of sources, including a land donation by Mary Jennifer Russell, a livable communities grant and roughly $70,000 from a recent $175,000 state appropriation to New Albany.
“We are very excited for the possibilities this funding could provide for New Albany,” said Sean Johnson, who presented the grant request as the city’s tourism director. “A number of people worked hard on getting this application ready, and one of the great things about this grant is that none of the funding of these improvements will need to come from the city budget.”
No funding required from the city budget, thanks to local land donation
The total investment for the riverfront improvements totals $340,000. Two river access points including dedicated pathways, trashcans and information stations are budgeted at $5,000; the stage is budgeted at $125,000; new restrooms, $65,000; a connector road from the park to the farmers market pavilion comes in at $45,000 and the new farmers market pavilion comes in at $100,000.
Johnson says that the committee was concerned that they might have to dedicate $150,000 from the appropriation as the grant match, but that the donation of land from Mary Jennifer Russell to the city was appraised at $100,000, alleviating the need to tap into the appropriations money.
“The land donation has allowed us to keep the majority of the state appropriations money to use with other match grant opportunities for further improvement.” says Johnson.
Hopefully, definitive news of the award will come by mid-summer
While the grant is not guaranteed, the $150,000 match requirement limits the number of municipalities being able to apply for it. As well, the addition of river access points to the plan make the grant application more attractive to the department of wildlife and fisheries.
The city should know about a grant award by mid-summer.