Monday, January 22, 2007

News from New Albany, Indiana

There were 2 good stories today about development in New Albany.

First, Purdue University gave some updates as to their plans for a beefed up presence in Southern Indiana. Purdue will open in 2008 it's third large scale business incubator center off of Charlestown Road at I-265. The New Albany center will be a copy of the university's current centers in West Lafayette and Merrillville.

The West Lafayette center has been helping businesses for well over a decade, whereas the Merrillville center has only been open for 2 years. The Merrillville center currently has around 20 businesses, and another 20 have "graduated" and no longer need assistance from Purdue. The New Albany center will be a great way to nurture new high-tech industries in Floyd County - something the Southern Indiana suburbs need desperately.

Along with their new incubator they are also expanding their degree offerings at the Indiana Southeast campus. They will offer several new bachelors degrees in engineering programs and technology programs. They also are planning for a future in which the IUS campus will have a building devoted solely to Purdue programs. This is great news for a region that is in need of as many degree options as possible. This is yet another indicator of the growing emphasis of education in the region.

The other story was a simple update of the Scribner Place project in downtown New Albany. The project, which includes a YMCA and indoor aquatics center, is seen as the spark that downtown needs to finally turn the corner and begin to revitalize. Downtown New Albany was virtually deserted in the past decades, but business has slowly been coming back. The downtown theatre was renovated in 2005 and open air cafes are popping up. But there is still a lack of mass and activity downtown on most given days. Scribner Place will help push the downtown forward, give the community a new "jewel" for downtown which will be widely used on weekday and during the weekends.

Southern Indiana has not been seen as the viable suburb that it is. These projects will help the community project a new image and be seen as the great area it is beoming.

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