New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan wins re-election

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan is declaring victory in his bid for reelection over challengers Kevin Zurschmiede, a real estate agent and a member of the New Albany City Council, and Roger Baylor, co-founder of New Albanian Brewing Co.

Gahan got 53 percent of the 6,684 votes cast, to Zurschmiede's 40 percent and Baylor's 7 percent.

Gahan, a Democrat, lifelong New Albany resident and former City Council member, became mayor in 2012 on a platform of making the city cleaner, stronger financially and “fundamentally better.”

"It has been an interruption -- you know -- campaigns are like that, but the truth of the matter, it's a good process," Gahan said Tuesday night. "We needed to get a check back from the people to see what they were thinking to make sure we were on the right track. We felt like we got the feedback that we needed to keep doing what we're going."

Gahan has overseen a number of public works projects aimed at boosting the quality of life in New Albany and attracting new residents.

Last summer, the city opened the River Run Family Waterpark at the former Camille Wright Pool on Daisy Lane. The public pool had been sitting unused for nearly 10 years.

The city also turned the old Hoosier Panel industrial site into a park and indoor sports complex called the Silver Street Park and Sportsplex.

Those are the two biggest projects funded by a $19.6 million bond issue the City Council approved in 2013. The money also paid for new soccer and football fields at Binford Park.

The public spending has not gone without criticism.

For example, State Rep. Ed Clere, a Republican from New Albany, told the New and Tribune in August that using tax-increment financing to pay for a water park might not be wise when “there are other basic needs that aren't being met.”

But in making the case for his re-election, Gahan touted his financial achievements including operating the city government within budget and upgrading the city’s credit rating.

"We’re going to continue to invest in the city to make it strong and that’s been the message of the campaign and we’ve run on that since we got here and we’re going to keep going," Gahan said.

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