Falling Run 2: A look back at 2006, and “West End Woes.”


On a few past occasions, we’ve taken a look at the unfulfilled potential of Falling Run Creek, as here.

From Yonkers to Falling Run.

Also, earlier today.

The first mention of Falling Run at NAC seems to be April 3, 2006, and this essay by the Bookseller.

As an aside, isn’t it ironic how often “West End Woes” and “Dan Coffey” appear in a sentence together? It’s almost like cause ‘n’ effect.

Here is the entire piece from 2006.

West End Woes

In most cities, you won’t find the congenitally disaffected even bothering to cast a vote, but in New Albany, Indiana, right here on the river, members of that class seem to have found an outlet for their green-eyed resentfulness – warming a seat on the Common Council of the City of New Albany for Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

As a public service, NA Confidential is pleased to be able to prepare this brief for 1st District Council Member Dan Coffey to use at tomorrow’s Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. (That’s the same room you’ll be seated in Monday night, since you haven’t often been able to find the elusive BoW in session.)

But first, a digression. The missus and I went out last p.m. to gig some trogs, er, frogs, dodging raindrops along the way. It was an educational trip. We ranged across various trouble spots previously highlighted and found a few new ones that will need the attention of our public servants.

Spring is a time to blossom, and the showers came just in time for the city to begin its weekly street cleaning meanders (Don’t ignore those red no parking notices, sports fans. NAC readers will have no excuse for getting caught parked on the wrong side of the street on the wrong day).

The early rains did little more than wash a lot of seasonal grime away, but by 5 p.m. the storms had become real gullywashers. My bride escorted me to inspect some of the flood plains and roadways that typically suffer hardest from strong rains.

We were pleased to see great progress being made on the Vance Avenue church pastored by the Rev. Anthony B. Toran. It looks like it’s going to be a spacious, yet economical, house of worship before too long. And it is without doubt an enhancement to the neighborhood.

We then proceeded to the Beechwood/Grant Line/Daisy Lane “triplesection,” which remains in limbo until the Daisy Lane widening (lane-widening?) project moves further along. I understand that Mr. McCartin owns that plot once used for a gas station/market, and one would assume we can divine just who The Gary is backing this election season from the campaign signs on display there (No, I won’t tell you. Go look for yourself!).

A quick hop northwestward to the top of the hill illuminated some of the research we had done earlier in the day with GoogleEarth (go download it to your machine now – it can’t find our house, but it will get you close enough to see what detritus is stored behind CM Larry Kochert’s back fence).

By satellite, the proposed development across from the Daisy Lane/Schell Road intersection seems like a no-brainer. That is, until you walk the ground. Nearby is the biggest of the city’s doughnut holes, the tower farm and flood plain that separates State Streeters from Grant Liners. The site straddles the turn that brings westbound drivers on a true western heading after the three-way stop.

I can’t blame the residents along Schell for using this occasion to lobby for improvements to their street. But I’m not sure how traffic on Daisy Lane will affect the flow or volume on Schell. It looks as if someone would really have to go out of their way to use Schell to bypass the aforementioned Beechwood “triplesection,” and if they so desired, they would be doing it now.

The Plan Commission and staff, as well as the developer, seem to think that even Daisy Lane won’t be overwhelmed by the daily addition of 300 or so vehicles, at least after the road improvements are completed.

This project qualifies as infill development, if not in a “blighted” area, and I’m hard-pressed to argue against it. We sure would like to hear more from its opponents than has been publicly reported.

The northwest corner of Daisy Lane and Green Valley Road is bare of any “Coming Soon” signs courtesy of The McCartin Companies. No word yet on whether that company is still determined to expand the commercial boundaries northward into the residential enclaves. Can it be that a line of demarcation has been drawn?

One sign of spring is the blossoming of candidate political signs. Someone should give a prize to the candidates with the best sign designs. Wonder if that would count as a campaign donation?

Taking a stroll in your own precinct, or a drive across town, may be one of the best ways to figure out who the players are in the May 2 primaries, at least until The Tribune issues its much-awaited thumbnails of the races. If voters start paying attention now, we’ll have made better choices in May – and in November.

Though each is unopposed, both Mark Seabrook (currently a Republican city council member) and Randy Stumler (currently a Democratic county council member) have their signs out. I still have to check again to see if there are any contested races in the Republican primary. They do seem to be disciplined when it comes to winnowing the candidates.

I’ve enjoyed watching these signs sprout, although I’m dying of curiosity to know who Ms. Ali is supporting via yard-sign placement. And I’m making it a point to examine those candidates who’ve forsworn this particular form of electioneering.

We also climbed the hill to New Beginnings Church. I’ve been curious about this church since I arrived here. It sure looks nice. But wasn’t one of the conditions for building there, particularly on that slope, that the church would put in sidewalks as part of the development permission from the Plan Commission? Why then are there still no sidewalks? Surely the neighbors in the adjacent subdivision are going to be ticked off if that doesn’t happen soon.

But back to our stated mission. Despite the frog-strangler, we came up empty on trog, er, frog-sightings, and had to settle on store-bought tilapia for dinner, seasoned with Steak Dance brand meat seasoning and tenderizer. Pretty good stuff. They claim it’s “Great for All Meats,” and “our family” can attest to that. [THIS SPACE FOR RENT ;)]

We followed the easiest course (downhill) to see if the much-ballyhooed exploding sewer caps were dancing. Nope, at least not on our trip, and we ranged fairly widely around town. Nor did we see any anal-retentives out ruining their shoes – which makes me wonder just how hard for it is for them to leave the house prepared with rubbers – the footwear kind, I mean).

But we did take note of an abominable situation in the West End. The construction of Interstate 64 did much damage to community and commerce in the underpopulated 1st District, but I understand that happened quite a few years ago.

The New Albanian received an anonymous missive recently from those precincts, and perhaps what we saw just two short blocks from CM Coffey’s abode is one of the horrors spoken of by his putative constituent.

Falling Run Creek was once a significant waterway, and navigable instead of being merely a watershed tributary. I’m told that riverboats were floated down Falling Run to the Ohio. The “park” alongside it would make a wonderful interpretive center for the history of boat building in New Albany. Even though it is subject to frequent flooding, there are terracing solutions that would make it a vital attraction no matter the water level. Memphis, Tennessee’s Mud Island comes to mind as a model for a mini-park that would serve the community while drawing tourists.

But what we spotted on the bank opposite Joe Kraft Park is one of the ugliest abominations I’ve seen in any urban area. The north bank of Falling Run Creek is derelict. It is nothing less than a dump. You can’t tell me the creek waters washed that assortment of goods 30 feet up the bank.

This is clearly the city’s responsibility. Joe Kraft Park is clearly the responsibility of the city/county Parks Department, and both need to be cleaned up pronto.

We had no camera handy, and no picture would do this scene justice. Go there and see for yourself. 612 West Seventh Street is the nearest home, but this simply isn’t a homeowner’s or tenant’s problem. It is ours.

So, here’s your brief, Dan. You live two blocks from the scene. You told the public you considered Joe Kraft Park to be your own responsibility. You’ve shown remarkable restraint so far in not demanding that this eyesore in your neighborhood be cleaned up.

We’re with you, Dan. Let’s get this fixed now. If the city can’t afford to put the resources into it because you’ve obstructed things for so long and tried to offer a government on the cheap, tried to destroy every progressive idea that ever came up, then organize a community clean-up day. Get your pet non-profit improvement association involved. Stream cleanup and anti-dumping legislation are, of course, progressive ideas, but with an election near at hand, surely even you can “break bread” with the progressives for a good cause. ‘Cause your volunteers will be, by definition, progressives furthering a progressive cause.

Progressive is as progressive does, as a kind lady told me today. That is correct, ma’am – that is correct.