Wish list for community shorter, but more ambitious

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January 3rd, 2020     Opinion

About this time most years I put together a sort of wish list of things I would like to seen done for or by the community in the next 12 months.

Happily, I can say the list may be shorter this time than in some previous years.

Officials have made some great strides.

The city is getting a new wastewater treatment plant away from the downtown area.

The acquisition of the Fred’s Discount building, which may serve as a new location for the police department, utility department, city court and boardroom, has gone through.

There are plans to create a dog park in the northeast section of the Park Along the River, possibly to better screen some public buildings and to improve the Wilson Street Park area.

The community center is being revamped and landscaping is to be added around it as well as creating a landscaped pavilion area on the lower part of the block. There is some discussion about creating some off-street parking space about where the swimming pool used to be.

Although many people may not be aware of it, we are about to have a new airport terminal building and the facility is being upgraded and likely used more.

This is all great news for the community.

But there are still plenty of other good things to do for our people.

New Albany continues to have streets that need repair or upgrading, and that costs money. Some tax money was allocated specifically for streets but more is needed.

With the community center getting a new life, it needs to be promoted more because it can effectively and economically serve a variety of functions. I believe that publicizing is going to be done and the city will benefit.

Likewise, I believe a more concerted effort is going to be made to bring events to the civic center. It may be, eventually, that events there can be tied to new meeting space somewhere.

We still need more parking, although, sadly, that is not quite the critical problem it was a couple of years ago.

A factor in the decrease may be that a couple of restaurants downtown are no longer in operation.

Moving the police department may free up some parking space, but using the Fred’s building brings the question of what to do with the old city hall and light, gas and water buildings.

What else?

While we do have plenty of places to eat, we don’t have sit-down family restaurants quite like Shoney’s (Cracker Barrel is a bit different) and we don’t have a family steakhouse that is open every day. I have had out-of-towners, particularly, asking about places like this, especially on Sundays. They want something on a Sunday other than fast food.

Obviously, things have changed but for many years the one day of the week a family was most likely to dine out was on Sunday after church.

Despite the hefty price tag, we do need an aquatic center or at least a pool.

And if we wanted to be really ambitious, the county owns some property by the fairgrounds that would be good to create a folk arts center unlike anything else in the state. Museum director Jill Smith has laid the groundwork for this with her Pioneer Days.

It would be a first for the state and a regional attraction.

In all, New Albany and Union County are doing a lot of things right, and are the envy of their peers in many respects.

But by doing even more of these improvements we could really leave other towns in the dust, perhaps gaining even more national esteem.

Someone recently described New Albany and its leaders as “timid.” That may be the safe thing to do, but I would prefer to see them taking more of a chance at times, going more out on a limb. We’re headed in the right direction; we just need to keep pushing.

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From the Community

Rodney Shands says:

Lynn:

You do know that The Rainey has a Sunday lunch special that is something to try don’t you. If not, you may want to subscribe to their Facebook page. It’s also on Instragram

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