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New Albany breaks ground on new mixed-income Beechwood neighborhood

A rendering of the Beechwood neighborhood, showing a street lined with houses.
The City of New Albany
The new mixed-income Beechwood neighborhood in New Albany will include affordable and market-rate housing.

The Beechwood development is part of the city’s goal to improve its affordable housing stock.

The new neighborhood will include 83 new units — a mix of affordable and market-rate housing — with single-family and duplex homes, senior-preferred apartments and 12 lots for future market-rate homes.

They’ll replace the World War II-era, barracks-style units razed earlier this year.

The project is part of the city’s plans to update and decentralize its large, dense public housing, and to provide better quality of life for residents.

“One of our big goals is that no matter who you are, your kids get off on the same bus,” New Albany Housing Authority Director David Duggins said at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. “Not everyone living in this neighborhood is going to be [in subsidized housing]. And no one needs to know who that is. It's a sense of pride and a sense of community that will be a new entity for us.”

State and local officials ceremoniously broke ground on the new mixed-income Beechwood neighborhood in New Albany on Tuesday.
Aprile Rickert
State and local officials ceremoniously broke ground on the new mixed-income Beechwood neighborhood in New Albany on Tuesday.

Before they were demolished for redevelopment, Duggins said the neighborhood held 120 units. He said residents were all assigned to a city staff member to help them relocate during construction — whether that was staying in public housing elsewhere in New Albany or going to a Section 8 property in or outside the city.

He said most stayed in public housing, and that as long as they’re still eligible, they will have the opportunity to come back and get recertified once the new Beechwood is finished.

The neighborhood will also provide opportunities for advancement through assistance with home ownership. This includes helping with credit repairs and the homebuying process.

The roughly $25 million project includes $2.4 million in American Rescue Plan funds allocated by the city. The remainder is a mix of bond issuance, a loan and tax credits.

“We are embarking on a journey to reshape our city's landscape,” New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan said. “This investment reflects our values as a community and our belief that every resident should have access to quality housing.

“Today we take a bold step forward to replace these outdated structures with modern, mixed-income housing [that] will not only meet the needs of our residents, but also elevate their quality of life.”

The old neighborhood had small structures with very little storage space, and only one bathroom in each unit.

The new neighborhood will have modern amenities and lots of outdoor space. Renderings show an accessible playground and community garden. The property is also adjacent to Silver Street Park.

Duggins said the city will be ready to start moving people into the neighborhood in around a year, with substantial completion in two years.

Tuesday’s event was also attended by state officials, including Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Executive Director Jacob Sipe.

Sipe stressed the importance of affordable housing in all communities to help retain and attract residents.

“Clearly this is a great example, where we have some folks … who want to continue to live in New Albany, who need some housing that's affordable, but who also want to be integrated and also be supportive of all the great amenities that a city like New Albany has to offer,” he said.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec, Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.