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New Albany buying land that could hold future police department

The New Albany Police Department has spent decades in the Frank C. Denzinger Criminal Justice Center, which is owned by Floyd County.

The city of New Albany is moving ahead with plans to purchase property that could become its police department’s new home.

The New Albany Redevelopment Commission voted on Tuesday to buy multiple lots along West Spring Street from Chalfant Industries for $400,000. The land is adjacent to other government facilities, including the City-County Building and the jail.

New Albany City Attorney Shane Gibson said the location is ideal for a new police station.

“They're looking at a couple other sites,” he said. “I think, ultimately, let's be honest, that is the premier site or the most logical site. Like I said, law enforcement personnel that we deal with and talk to have indicated that that makes sense.”

Mayor Jeff Gahan said last year the city is relocating the New Albany Police Department (NAPD). It currently operates in the Frank C. Denzinger Criminal Justice Center, which the Floyd County government owns.

The announcement came amid a lease dispute between the city, the Floyd County government, and the New Albany-Floyd County Building Authority.

Gibson said the city is still considering other options for the NAPD headquarters. But even if the Spring Street site isn’t selected, he said it’s important for the city to own that property.

“It makes perfect sense for the city to control it because of the development opportunities there, whether it's the police station or whether it’s not,” he said. “It would be other mixed use, which would include some retail on the bottom, with potentially some smaller living arrangements, apartments, condos on top.”

Redevelopment Commission Vice President Adam Dickey, who is also on the city council, said the land’s proximity to downtown, Interstate 64 and other public amenities makes it a “win-win” for the city.

Dickey said the city will continue exploring potential sites for the police department through the end of the year. More information on NAPD’s future could be available by the beginning of next year.

“These are public servants who make sure that our community is safe,” Dickey said. “And we want to make sure that when we're recruiting and retaining these employees, that they've got a quality facility to do their training and to be able to do their work in.”

John Boyle is a corps member with  Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. John’s coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County, Community Foundation of Southern Indiana and Samtec, Inc.

John, News Editor for LPM, is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Email John at jboyle@lpm.org.