Moving In


For someone who has lived in the New Albany area his entire life, the history and politics of the city never made much of an impression. More than three decades were spent in Georgetown and Floyds Knobs, both smaller communities in Floyd County. During my first marriage, we lived near work, out by I-265 and away from the faded city center. I spent a year in an apartment on Market Street, then bought a house downtown on Spring Street with Diana, who’s now my second wife.

This was in November, 2003, just about the time that an election was held and a new mayor, James Garner, was elected. I paid no attention to any of it beyond what little I read in the Louisville Courier-Journal, where I learned that Garner was the son of a deceased local doctor and campaigned on a platform of “a different kind of mayor.”

Fair enough. The first two-thirds of 2004 were spent walking and biking throughout the heart of the old city, or at least what remains of it, and a fascination began to take hold. Quite simply, numerous convergences boded well for the city’s future. There seemed to be a few people with the right idea, but for every one of them, there were a half-dozen absentee landlords whose dilapidated rental properties impeded progress.

Surely a different kind of mayor would put paid to the old ways, the pre-existing tolerance for sloth, and the bad habits of a half-century previous.

Wouldn’t he?