On Tuesday evening, the Floyd County Council approved a plan to construct a new $6-million annex to replace the currently occupied but thoroughly decrepit structure on Grant Line Road.
Ostensibly, the 4-3 decision ends months of uncertainty, during which forward-thinking, progressive elements on the council (the "3") consistently sought to combine much needed new office space with downtown revitalization, and were opposed by openly regressive council members (the "4") who seemed to be united only in opposing a downtown solution.
Oddly, and perhaps predictably, council president Ted Heavrin continued to actively and publicly oppose a future-tense downtown option throughout the course of the debate, even though such a downtown project would have boosted economic development of his own council district, which includes downtown areas.
An obvious bright spot of the new construction project as approved Tuesday night is that it will not result in an inevitable conflict of interest with respect to former council member Don McCartin, the realtor handling the sale of the Northside Christian property, which Heavrin’s and Larry McAllister’s vocal council faction continued to propose buying long after the seedier aspects of such a transaction became visible.
Instead, McCartin’s big commission is likely to come from the school corporation, which has expressed interest in consolidating offices and programs by moving into the former church property.
Here’s an excerpt from the Tuesday Courier-Journal article by Ben Zion Hershberg, as Tuesday’s New Albany Tribune typically contained no coverage of the county council meeting (late note -- the Tribune's coverage has appeared in the Thursday edition of the paper: County Council looking to build new by Kyle Lowry).
“Council members Larry McAllister, Jeff Fessel, Carol Shope and Ted Heavrin endorsed the plan, with Randall Stumler, Lana Aebersold and Dana Fendley voting against it.
“Stumler said he favored a longer-range plan that included the construction of a new City-County Building, in cooperation with city government, and using the current City-County Building to house only courts and justice-related offices.
“The City-County Building is badly out of date, Stumler said, adding, ‘we look like we're living in Mayberry here.’”
NA Confidential heartily thanks Randy, Lana and Dana for their continued interest in exploring long-term solutions to the city’s and the county’s problems.
As for the others -- well, at least I know who'll be voted against next time around.
Floyd panel approves building new annex on Grant Line Road
By Ben Zion Hershberg (remember, there's a short shelf life on C-J links)