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Southern Indiana leaders talk priority projects for 2020

From the Sherman Minton project to a new city hall, leaders in Floyd County are prepping for a year of growth.

NEW ALBANY, Indiana — A new year means new resolutions and new goals, and that’s no different for local leaders.

Leaders in New Albany are focused on moving forward in the new year. 

“What I’m most looking forward to is just having a timetable on that Sherman minton project," said Al Knable, New Albany City Council at large.

The Sherman Minton Bridge is scheduled for reconstruction in 2021. It’s a project weighing on people’s minds in the city. Knable says it’s what he’s asked about the most.

“Is it going to be total closure, is it going to be partial closure, is it going to be a composite of that? I expect there will be sometimes where that bridge has to be totally closed, but we’ve asked and continue to ask INDOT please if you’re listening, you know we want to minimize the total closure time," said Knable.

Until that’s figured out, the length of the project is still an unknown.

“I hope we know by the end of first quarter 2020," said Knable. It could be anywhere from one to three years depending on how much of it is shut down. 

“With the reconstruction and repairs comes the opportunity for some aesthetic lighting," said Knable.

On a positive note, the light the Sherman project which was started by a local business owner is now gaining traction. Residents are working to form a nonprofit to help fund the idea.

“We hope to meet early in 2020 first quarter and then go from there and have some fundraising events through the year," said Knable. "I think it would be great to have that lit up, I think it would give some identity to this end of town, create kind of a point of destination.”

Another big project looking to wrap up in 2020 the new city hall. Offices will be moved from the city county building to the old Reisz Furniture building on main street. 

“Its no secret that I was originally not a proponent of that, I didn’t vote for it," said Knable. "But now that it’s moving forward I want that to work.”

Knable says he expects to be moved into the new location by mid 2020.

“We need to make it as positive of an experience as we can, from parking, to ease of finding where you need your services," he said. "Hopefully the better environment will spill over into a better experience.”

The council is looking for other ways to create better experiences for citizens.

Recently Knable says they did a survey to pool the issues each council member found most important to voters.

Similar issues rose to the top like code enforcement and traffic. 

“We have some areas that require further intervention and cleanup so I’d like to see us prioritize that," said Knable. "There are some areas where we have some speed issues, areas where we have line of sight issues. I would really like to see us make a concerted effort to go intersection by intersection in coordination with the board of works and the police department and see whether or not extra signage would be of help.”

A new school referendum, homeless issues, and the River Heritage Conservancy’s effort to build a riverfront park are some other issues that are top of mind for Knable in 2020.

“I have a formal meeting scheduled early in January with the mayor and hopefully we can get on the same page with regards to some of these,” he said. "We’ve got a new makeup on the council. I look forward to trying to work together in 2020 and beyond and do whats best for the people.”

RELATED: Keep the Sherman Minton Bridge partially open; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer shares his opinion

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RELATED: New Albany council passes resolution on Sherman Minton Bridge access

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