Aldermen discuss primitive camping and road improvements

April 8th, 2016     Government & Politics

The New Albany city board has approved a proposal to allow “primitive camping” in the Park Along the River on a limited basis.

During the Tuesday, April 5th meeting, New Albany landscape architect Sam Creekmore recommended that a primitive campground with a single fire pit be allowed in a space near the New Albany tennis facilities. Camping would be allowed only to appropriate groups such as scout troops and church groups, and a permit would have to be obtained in advance. No camping by individuals would be allowed.

“We often get inquiries about space for primitive camping by scout groups,” Sean Johnson, the city’s tourism and marketing director, told the board. The board was told there are presently no primitive campground spaces in New Albany except on private property.

New Albany Fire Chief Steve Coker told the board he did not believe there would be any serious hazards to a single, properly constructed fire pit for the new facility. Coker recommended that access to the area be closed off except when use has been authorized. The aldermen unanimously approved development of a primitive camp space in  the park for qualified groups.

In other business, the board appointed Penelope Blissett to a seat on the New Albany Board of Education. The appointment was recommended by Alderman Kevin Dale White. The vote to approve the appointment was unanimous, and New Albany Mayor Tim Ken swore Ms Blissett in as a school board member during the meeting.

Oxford Road resident Bill Robertson spoke to the aldermen about the need for improvements to the half-mile section of Oxford Road that runs from Highway 30 to Bankhead Street (Hwy 178). Robertson pointed out that traffic on the road is far heavier than what the roadway was built for decades ago. The road runs behind Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County, and traffic has become heavier as hospital services have grown. Robertson pointed out that access to the new $12-million emergency department at the hospital is via Oxford Road. Use of the Baptist ER has increased sharply since the new facility was completed not quite two years ago.

The mayor said he agreed with Robertson. “I think we need to widen it,” he said, and all five aldermen indicated  agreement and that ways and means of making the improvements will be pursued.

UCDA Executive Director Phil Nanney told the aldermen that repairs to leaks in the old post office building, which is occupied by UCDA and other organizations, have been made. Nanney said another leak was discovered after the repairs and that Grace Roofing, which performed the repairs, returned promptly to deal with the problem. The aldermen agreed to ask the Union County Board of Supervisors to reimburse the city for half the costs of the roof repair.

The New Albany Board of Aldermen will meet again at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3rd at the city hall.

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