New Albany News

City receives grant for permanent Safety Town buildings

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New Albany on April 1 received a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to install permanent buildings at Safety Town on Swickard Woods Boulevard.

New Albany on April 1 received a $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance to install permanent buildings at Safety Town on Swickard Woods Boulevard.

State Farm agent Jason Hoy said the permanent buildings will look like New Albany's Main Street. He said the structures will include a miniature town hall, a police department and fire station.

Safety Town director Lisa Carson said the buildings erected when Safety Town moved to the permanent site on Swickard Woods Boulevard in 2006 "were intended to last three to five years."

Carson said now that Safety Town is in its 11th year, the buildings need repairs.

Police Chief Greg Jones said the New Albany Safety Town was started by the police department in 2004 for children in kindergarten and first grade.

Safety Town features a course on which children ride tricycles between buildings while observing stop signs and traffic signals. Police officers teach other safety issues, such as ways to avoid strangers, and Plain Township firefighters teach fire and poison safety.

Carson said about 200 children attended the program in 2004. Last year,Safety Town was attended by 400.

"Forty percent of our kids live in surrounding areas," Carson said. "We attract people from all over."

Jones said the police department drafted a plan in 2006 for permanent buildings for Safety Town. He said some of the buildings should be completed this year.

Carson said other local businesses, such as Rainbow Pediatrics and Maple Orthodontics, both of which are on West Main Street in New Albany, are willing to pay for buildings that resemble their businesses in the streetscape.

Jones said city officials met April 2 to begin the review process for construction of the Safety Town buildings.

Most of the buildings will be about eight feet tall, Carson said.

Jones said the most important component is that the permanent buildings will require little maintenance.

Safety Town will be open from June 9-19 and July 7-17.

Online registration is available through May 1.

Safety Town costs $85 per student.

For information, email safetytown@newalbanypolice.org.

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