As a result of New Albany Village Council's recent decision to draw money from the village's economic development fund for projects in the business park east, the New Albany Community Authority board must convene and approve the money transfer.

As a result of New Albany Village Council's recent decision to draw money from the village's economic development fund for projects in the business park east, the New Albany Community Authority board must convene and approve the money transfer.

Brent Bradbury, chief financial officer of the New Albany Co. and a member of the community authority's board of trustees, said the board has not yet scheduled a meeting to release the funds.

The economic development fund was created with revenue from income taxes collected in the local business parks, said Scott McAfee, village communications director. McAfee said 35 percent of the income-tax revenues generated from the business parks goes to the village, 35 percent goes to the New Albany-Plain Local School District and the other 30 percent goes into the economic development fund to pay off debt or pay for new infrastructure in the parks. The money must be used for projects inside the business park.

The economic development fund is a separate entity from other funds held by the community authority. Those funds help pay down debt incurred in the 1990s to build Fodor Road, improve the Plain Township Fire Station and build parts of New Albany High School.

McAfee said at that time, the village did not have the rating to borrow money to build a business park, so Leslie Wexner and his development company, the New Albany Co., co-signed for a loan that allowed the village to build infrastructure for a business park.

"It's a way for us to pay back and pay down debt on past bonds that we took out and also for us to reinvest in the business park," McAfee said.

Council is requesting the money for several projects in business park east, which is on both sides of Beech Road north of state Route 161.

Council voted 5-0 - with Colleen Briscoe and Sloan Spaulding absent - at its Feb. 15 to appropriate $100,000 from the economic development fund to build a pump station and $375,000 to install a fiber-optic line that will service business park east. Because several businesses are expected to finish construction of new facilities in the park as early as this summer, the pieces of legislation were passed as emergency legislation, which waives the second reading and allows immediate passage. Council also voted in favor of resolutions to waive competitive bidding requirements for each project.

According to Chief Dudley Wright of the Monroe Township Fire Department, which will provide service to the part of Licking County in which part of the business park east is located, the pump station is needed for fire suppression and sprinkler systems within the park. Accel Inc., which plans to have its 500,000-square-foot facility completed by June, must have the system in place before it opens.

Wright said the pump station would pull water from large ponds and run the water into a 16-inch underground water main that would provide water for sprinkler systems in the buildings and fire hydrants in the area. The municipal water system will be used to operate sinks and restroom facilities, he said.

According to the legislative report, bids for the project came in at more than 10 percent over the village's project estimate of $775,000. McAfee said last week that the village would likely not have time to rebid the project and get a new bidder "up to speed" to complete the pump station on time. As a result, council waived the competitive bidding requirements to allow village administrator Joseph Stefanov to contract with one of the entities that initially bid on the project.

The fiber-optic extension will service the same buildings locating in business park east. Council requested the $375,000 from the economic development fund to install the fiber lines, a project that will be done in conjunction with American Electric Power (AEP).

Council also agreed to waive the competitive bidding requirements so the village could use an existing agreement with AEP, which currently maintains the New Albany's fiber-optic lines. Stefanov told council if AEP was expected to maintain the fiber lines, it hoped to have some say over installation of the lines.

In addition to the two major projects, council also requested $6,500 from the economic development to help pay for design of signage in the medical office complex off Smith's Mill Road.

Jennifer Chrysler, the village's community development director, said the signage is needed for patients visiting the facilities.

"The existing signage is OK for regular users, (such as) staff who report to work on a daily basis, but often confusing for the true users of the facilities - the patients," she said. "The buildings on the site also have unique orientation because of the unusual shape of the property and some of the environmental features that make a beautiful site for development."

Once the village recognized the need for improved signage, a steering committee was formed to evaluate the need for signage, Chrysler said.

"The $6,500 includes research, design and the installation of the temporary signs for analysis," she said. "The users will be responsible for fabricating and installing the final 'way-finding' solution.

"This is another example of a great public-private partnership that helps visitors to New Albany."