By Stacey A. Shannon—
ALBANY, IN—Though it sprawls between both Randolph and Delaware Counties, the town of Albany, Ind., only has a population of 2,282. What it lacks in size, however, Albany makes up for in vibrancy.
The town council has been working hard to create a town its residents can continue to be proud of and will keep them in the area. During a community meeting five years ago, the town council heard an overwhelming number of suggestions for more activities for school-aged students. Ever since then, they have been working toward making those improvements and others, according to Steve Hall, town council president.
“We just want to work together for the betterment of our community,” he said of the council’s attitude.
Last year, the town opened a first responder-themed splash pad that offers free admission. Hall said the splash pad has been a big success. School groups, mom groups and residents from throughout the area have utilized it. In fact, the splash pad averages about 100 people a day during the summer.
“[The splash pad] helps us promote our community,” Hall said. “It lets people see that we’re progressive.”
The splash pad can be rented for private parties through the municipal office, according to Hall. It is also open daily throughout warm months.
This year, the town’s momentum is continuing with a new amphitheater going up near the splash pad along with pickleball courts, table tennis and cornhole. The amphitheater is slated to be complete by mid-July and will be the future home of the town’s annual Freedom Festival as well as concerts and movie nights. (Artist renderings below.)
The pickleball courts are nearly completed and should be open for games by mid-May.
“We built back-to-back pickleball courts across from the splash pad,” said Randy Dunnuck, vice president of the Albany town council.
The permanent cornhole boards and table tennis will also offer even more activities for residents and visitors alike.
“We think this will give people of all ages an opportunity to make use of the park,” Hall said.
Hall also mentioned the splash pad, amphitheater and recreational areas have all been built using grants, contributions and existing funds. For example, Randolph County gave Albany $75,000 toward the amphitheater. As a result, the town is neither going into debt nor having to raise taxes to fund these projects.
“We look for grants,” Hall said. “We look for ways to utilize our existing funding.”
The town is also in the process of working on a grant to fund new, more decorative streetlights for downtown Albany to install next summer when the state comes through with a road construction project. Along with the lights, Hall said the town hopes to install some electric charging stations downtown at the same time.
“If we want to attract young people to our community to stay in the community and not move away, we have to have some things here in town that are attractive to them,” Hall said.
Along with these projects, Albany has purchased space to build a new park for children north of Indiana 67 to keep children from having to cross the highway to get to a park. Dunnuck said that should be finished in about two years. New gateway and way-finding signs as well new businesses are also part of the near future for Albany.
“We just want to be able to continue to attract people to our community that would choose to live here and work here to attract new businesses,” Hall said. “And I don’t think you can do that unless you’re trying to move forward.”
Listen to Steve Lindell interview Albany Town Leadership— originally broadcast on WMUN, 92.5FM/1340AM