New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan announces re-election bid

Jan. 25—NEW ALBANY — New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan is running for a fourth term in office.

The Democratic incumbent Wednesday declared his plans to seek re-election in the 2023 election. The mayor has served in the seat since 2012.

He aims to keep up the "momentum," he said Wednesday at his re-election announcement at Bella Roma in downtown New Albany.

"It's about momentum, about keeping it going," Gahan said. "And I'm really amazed at the momentum that this river city has been able to sustain for a number of years."

State Rep. Ed Clere, a Republican representing District 72, and Democrat Dylan Rash have also entered the mayoral race. In the 2022 election, Clere was re-elected to his eighth term in the Indiana House, and he announced his plans to run for mayor earlier this month.

Gahan said he has "never felt this good about New Albany." In a statement released Wednesday, the mayor touted work that the city has completed in the past three years.

"These past three years have sailed by, and I am happy to report that with each passing year, our city's future gets brighter and brighter," he said. "In a very short period of time, despite a worldwide pandemic and other barriers, we have seen a surge of improvements throughout the city."

He cited the city's allocation of funding from the American Rescue Plan.

"With the help of the American Rescue Plan, we were able to bring millions of dollars into service to help struggling businesses, homeowners and people battling addiction and homelessness," Gahan said. "We added additional affordable health care services. We launched the largest public housing reboot in the history of New Albany."

The mayor noted work that has been completed in recent years in the Charlestown Road area, including the redevelopment of the Colonial Manor Shopping Center and the ongoing construction of a new firehouse.

"We have witnessed the old Colonial Manor Shopping Center on Charlestown Road come back from blight to become a new center of commerce that offers food, recreation, medical care and manufacturing," he said.

Gahan mentioned the city plans to build a new headquarters for the New Albany Police Department, saying keeping the city safe "requires both highly trained officers and modern equipment and facilities." Last week, the New Albany City Council voted to proceed with the $12.6 million project, which will be the first standalone station for the police department in the city's history.

The police department now shares space with the Floyd County Sheriff's Department in the county-owned Frank C. Denzinger Criminal Justice Building. Gahan said construction on the new station is expected to start this summer.

The mayor referenced ongoing projects along the New Albany shoreline, including the extension of the Ohio River Greenway and the planned development of a River Recreation park at the former QRS Recycling location.

The city is also developing Silver Creek Landing, a project that involves recreational access to Silver Creek and trail connections to the Ohio River Greenway.

"Our New Albany Shoreline is expanding to accommodate the demand for quality-of-life amenities that keep us all healthy and active," Gahan said. "Just like our parks, fit is becoming a source of healthy recreation and vitality for the people of New Albany, no matter their age."

The mayor also emphasized the city's push for the creation of the South Monon Freedom Trail, a 63-mile trail that will begin in New Albany and stretch to Mitchell. Earlier this month, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that the regional trail project would receive $29.5 million in state funding.

"When completed, this will be the longest recreational trail in the state of Indiana, and the trailhead will be right here in our River City," Gahan said. "Only by working with partners like the Department of Natural Resources, Gov. Holcomb and Radius Indiana would this 63-mile rails-to-trails conversion be possible."

The City of New Albany is also planning a connecting pathway that will tie the South Monon Freedom Trail with the city's shoreline projects and the Ohio River Greenway.

The mayor also referenced the ongoing Main Street Revitalization project, which will result in updates to the corridor from State Street to East Fifth Street.

"Five blocks of historic Main Street are filled with the dust and noise of new construction," he said. "Like other streets in New Albany, its rehab is overdue — but when finished, it will be recognized as one of the finest historic avenues for business in the State of Indiana."

Gahan said "improvements and investments in New Albany are being completed with no additional taxes."

"After 11 straight years of balanced budgets and strong cash reserves, the city continues to boast an A+ financial rating supported by yearly audits from state examiners," he said.

In response to Gahan's re-election announcement, Floyd County's GOP vice chair released a statement describing the incumbent's tenure in office as "failed leadership."

"On Gahan's watch, crime is on the rise and our police department is depleted, downtown businesses on Main Street are being suffocated by poorly planned construction, and citizens lack affordable housing options as the current administration tears down housing," Nick Vaughn said. "State Rep. Ed Clere will offer new leadership that will be tough on violent crime, open and transparent with the community, and help businesses succeed."

Friday, Feb. 3 is the deadline for candidates to declare for the 2023 municipal election. The primary takes place Tuesday, May 2.