New Albany News

City will seek grants to fund trail extension projects


New Albany could extend leisure trail connections on Central College Road and Beech and Smith's Mill roads as part of two grant-funded projects.

Public Service Director Mark Nemec told New Albany City Council April 2 the Franklin County engineer's office will reconstruct the bridge on Central College Road over Blacklick Creek in 2014 using a $788,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration.

Nemec said city officials want to widen the bridge deck and add a pedestrian crossing, which is estimated to cost between $60,000 and $100,000, in conjunction with the county project.

Nemec said the city will need to allocate money in the 2014 budget.

Franklin County is expected to start the project in June 2014. Central College Road will be closed for 90 days during construction, Nemec said.

Mayor Nancy Ferguson said the project is "never going to get any cheaper."

Council approved first reading of the ordinance April 2 in a 4-0 vote with Chip Fellows and Chris Wolfe absent and one seat vacant. Asecond reading and potential passage was slated April 16.

The other project would extend trails in three locations: on Beech Road from Smith's Mill Road to the park-and-ride lot on Dublin-Granville Road; on Smith's Mill Road from the Franklin County line to Beech Road; and on Smith's Mill Road in the Personal Care and Beauty Campus.

City Administrator Joseph Stefanov said the project includes six miles of trail. It would not connect all the gaps in the eastern portion of the city but he said it would provide more trails for employees in the New Albany Personal Care and Beauty Campus.

"This will fill in a fairly expensive piece of the gap," he said.

Gaps would still exist between Abercrombie and Fitch and the American Electric Power facility on Smith's Mill Road and between Kitzmiller and Beech roads on Smith's Mill Road, Stefanov said.

Nemec said city officials want to apply for a state transportation enhancement grant that would pay for 80 percent of the $2-million project. The city would be required to pay the remaining 20 percent, which would be $400,000.

City Council voted 4-0 to approve a resolution to apply for the grant.

The grant would pay for "architecture/engineering plans, environmental studies and documentation, rights-of-way plansand right-of-way acquisition, if necessary," according to City Council's staff report.

The city hired the EMH&T engineering firm of Columbus to prepare the grant application. The firm will be paid $5,000 for its services.