Saturday, May 09, 2009

Perspective from 2005, Downtown New Albany

I’m lucky. Every May I work with some extremely dedicated preservationists to help plan Preservation Month events in New Albany. We’ve been doing this for several years. We’ve even expanded the operation to include events outside of May – Newport forum and Windows Workshop.

Fellow planner, David Barksdale, made a great point the other day. In 2005 the situation downtown was much different than what we have today (2009). Sixteen properties were available along the Pearl and Market Street corridors. Large swaths of blocks were unoccupied. Today, in the same area, there are only 4 properties available.

The weakness, and one I’ll take my share of the blame for, is the lack of tracking of important data like this. Local activists focus on the current and in many cases the ugly issues. Seldom do we take the time to look back and appreciate just how much progress has been made. We don’t do a good job of defining the outcomes desired either. I will endeavor to help change that.
As I related to a large group of people recently, the quality of life here has improved here. While I have no data to support this, I do believe the image for the area is changing in a positive way. And this is being done without any coordinated strategy whatsoever. Just imagine if we tried?
I have to go now because it’s the opening day for the Farmers Market. I also have to stop at our local bookstore, Destinations Booksellers, to do some shopping. At 11:00 I’ll be attending a walking tour downtown with dozens of visitors, touring buildings downtown that are in progress of being restored. Then I have to hit River City Winery to pick up two bottles of wine for my Dad’s birthday. I’ll have to grab lunch somewhere along the way, probably at Studio's. Then a stop at the Gallery on Pearl for a Mothers Day gift and a welcome gift for a gal from California who is buying a house on my street. A workout at the YMCA may get squeezed in there or maybe a run along the Greenway (workouts will need to increase, as Wicks Pizza opens in July). And I’m really looking forward to dinner at Bank Street Brewhouse this evening.

Best of all, it’s going to be a “no car” weekend, as I can do all the above walking.
Indeed, 2005 sure seems like a longtime ago.


shirley baird said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend.

Don said...

I am ex Louivillian and a new resident of New Albany. I recently came across your great site and was wondering if you are aware of the Library link below.

It has very many old photos. You do not have to enter info in the search string, just choose a subject and click search. Also check the “thumbnail” box.
Clicking on the resultant links will enlarge the image but for some reason the enlargement does not work with the Firefox browser, only with IE. I wonder if the webmaster is aware of this.

TedF said...

Welcome to New Albany Don - yes, our library is a wonderful resource. I enjoy browsing those images. Have you been to the Indiana Room at the library yet? Make sure to pay a visit.

All4Word said...

Ted Sed: "without any coordinated strategy whatsoever."

100 people 100 miles away from it can see the top of the mountain. And if they all head that way, from time to time their paths will cross. Some will make it to the top and others will not.

That's not a "coordinated" strategy, but perhaps the guerilla campaign is more coordinated than you might think. Perhaps not everything has to be coordinated. In fact, what you call coordination has, in past years, seemed to be counterproductive in many ways, undemocratic, and more Astroturf than grass roots.

And look who's saying so...Mister Let's Put on a Show.