By CHRIS MORRIS
News and Tribune
NEW ALBANY, IN (News and Tribune) - Plans for the new city hall took another step forward Wednesday when the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety approved the basics of a 25-year lease. The board is expected to sign the official lease at Tuesday's meeting.
The proposed move into the mid-19th century Reisz Furniture building on Main Street will likely happen early in 2019, according to city attorney Shane Gibson. He said Wednesday it will likely take one year to transform the dilapidated building into New Albany's City Hall.
To lease the space from Denton Floyd Real Estate Group, the firm that purchased and is restoring the building, the city will pay $250,000 a year for 25 years. Once the 25 years is up, the city will own the building.
The city is currently paying the Building Authority $194,000 to lease the third floor of the City-County Building. That 40-year lease ran out in 2000, and the city has since been paying year to year. The new city hall will triple the amount of space for city offices.
The county is expected to move some offices to the third floor of the City-County Building once the city departs.
New Albany's Redevelopment Commission made a $750,000 commitment to Denton Floyd which will cover the $400,000 cost for the real estate firm to buy the property. The remaining $350,000 will help clear out the inside of the structure. Owner Tommy Floyd said the firm also will receive $700,000 in federal historic tax credits.
The new city hall will house all city offices currently on the third floor of the City-County Building, and it will have new City Council chambers and office space for council members. The city police department will remain at its current location.
Denton Floyd also is rehabilitating the former M. Fine and Sons shirt factory on Main Street into a senior living facility.
"When this project is complete, the residents of New Albany will own a new, modern city hall. Instead of throwing away our community's tax dollars on rent, we will be investing in and saving a historic property that will be owned by the community and utilized for years to come," New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said in a previous interview.
COYLE DRIVE TRAFFIC ISSUES
Coyle Drive is being used as a cut-through for motorists looking to avoid the ongoing construction and traffic congestion on State Street, according to a resident.
Susan Story, who owns two properties on Coyle, asked the board of works Wednesday to consider closing Coyle to through-traffic. She had a petition signed by 18 residents who live on Coyle and nearby Ann Place.
Story said the once-quiet street has turned into a busy road and there have been accidents and other property destruction in the last several months with the added vehicles.
"We would like to reclaim some semblance of a neighborhood," she said. "It's only going to get worse with restaurants and hotels coming soon [to State Street]."
Board of Works President Warren Nash said the board will discuss the matter with police, fire and other city officials.