New Albany touts no displaced residents or water rescues thanks - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Albany touts no displaced residents or water rescues thanks to infrastructure improvements

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New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Pastor Tim Gribbins has a heavy heart when he walks through his church and surveys damage from flooding.

"You just have to live with it," he said.

Furniture, decorations and electronics are ruined. Drywall, carpet and insulation are being ripped out and trashed.

"I'm guessing probably $80,000 in damage," Gribbins said.

The people who make up the congregation at Victory Lighthouse Church are some of the few going through a tough time in New Albany.

"No one has been displaced from their home," Mayor Jeff Gahan said. "I can tell you just a few years ago, we couldn't have made that boast."

Officials say that's because the southern Indiana river city started making big changes in how it handles flooding back in 2014.

"We have not made one water rescue in this event," New Albany Fire Chief Matt Juliot said. "They rebuilt all their pumps at the pump stations. They spent millions of dollars doing that."

New Albany also invested $6 million in taxpayer money to upgrade the storm water run-off system. And work continues not far from Charlestown Road to keep waste water under control when there's heavy rain.

"We've been chasing this for about 25 years, these overflow issues, and we're just about on top of it," Gahan said.

You might be saying, "what about the amphitheater and nearby baseball fields?" Both are under water, but Gahan said that flooding is by design.

"That's working exactly the way it's supposed to," he said. "That's where we want the water."

Each spot acts as a retention basin. It's similar to how Louisville plans to use the space once occupied by Jim Porters.

Gribbins' church just happens to be near one of those New Albany baseball fields, but he's a man of faith and said he knows his church will dry out and move past the February flood.

"You move on, you rebuild, you work with it," he said.

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