New Albany News

Community authority

$2.9 million earmarked for infrastructure

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The New Albany Community Authority last week authorized paying $2.9 million for six local infrastructure projects.

Community authority board members voted 5-0 March 27 to approve the release of the money from New Albany's economic-development fund for the improvements, most of which will be in the Personal Care and Beauty Campus off Beech Road, north of state Route 161.

The projects are:

* $700,000 to add street lighting and street trees on Smith's Mill Loop Road.

* $400,000 to extend the sanitary-sewer system and $200,000 to tap into the graywater system on Smith's Mill Loop Road.

* $250,000 to build a COTA park and ride.

* $900,000 to design the Blacklick sanitary trunk line, which eventually will serve the campus.

* $50,000 for fiber-optics improvements on Smith's Mill Loop Road.

* $500,000 to extend Zarley Street to Forest Drive.

The community authority board members present were: Chairwoman Trudy Bartley, Treasurer Brent Bradbury, Don Barger Jr., Saundra Cooke and Bill Ebbing. Vice Chairman Ted Adams was absent.

New Albany City Council on approved a resolutionFeb. 5 to request $2.5 million from the economic-development fund for the six projects.

New Albany officials requested money from the economic-development fund in 2013 for the connection between Zarley Street and Forest Drive but the project has changed and will cost more, City Manager Joseph Stefanov said.

Stefanov said the Forest Drive-Zarley Street connection initially was planned as a straight line but the alignment now includes some curves, made to incorporate future plans by the New Albany Co., which owns land in the area, to extend Forest Drive to Kitzmiller Road.

Stefanov said the new alignment works better for the eventual layout of the road between Zarley Street and Kitzmiller Road.

He said the city had planned to install street trees and lighting on Smith's Mill Loop Road a few years ago but decided to cut those out of the project to keep it on time and budget. He said it makes sense to do that project now.

Stefanov said it's anticipated that the city of Columbus will extend the Blacklick sanitary trunk line to New Albany, and the city needs to have design work done so it is ready when Columbus moves forward with the project.

The two municipalities have an agreement by which Columbus provides city water services to New Albany.

The 3,000-acre Personal Care and Beauty Campus includes: Accel, Alene Candles, Anomatic Corp., Arminak and Associates, Axium Plastics, Exhibit Pro, the Jeyes Group, the Knowlton Development Corp., Sonoco Plastics and Vee Pak.

Earlier this year, L Brands announced its plan to move 500 employees from the facility at 8655 E. Broad St., Reynoldsburg, to a new building in the campus on Smith's Mill Road east of Beech Road.

The project's first phase would include 360,000 square feet for corporate offices and a 500,000-square-foot distribution facility. L Brands is expected to add 100 new employees at the site which, when combined with the 500 other employees, brings the estimated annual payroll to $48 million, city officials have estimated.

Stefanov said the community authority board made the right choice in using revenues from other business parks to invest in infrastructure for the Personal Care and Beauty Campus.

He said the authority's $16.8 million debt -- issued for infrastructure in the Central College, Oak Grove and Blacklick business campuses -- had been paid down to $5.64 million by the end of 2013.

The debt is paid using income-tax revenue from all of the city's business campuses.

Stefanov said 30 cents of each dollar of income tax generated in the Central College, Oak Grove and Personal Care and Beauty campuses and 50 cents of each dollar of income tax generated in the Blacklick campus is transferred to the community authority for debt-service payments.

New Albany's economic-development fund was created before the business parks were developed with help from local businessman Leslie Wexner, said New Albany spokesman Scott McAfee.

City officials issued bonds to install infrastructure in the business parks and Wexner backed the debt with a letter of credit.

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