In the early 1990s, long before the birth of the New Albany International Business Park and two decades prior to New Albany becoming a city after the 2010 census, City Councilman Stephen Pleasnick was in a room with local businessman and Les Wexner, discussing the plans that would shape Wexner's vision for the village.

In the early 1990s, long before the birth of the New Albany International Business Park and two decades prior to New Albany becoming a city after the 2010 census, City Councilman Stephen Pleasnick was in a room with local businessman and Les Wexner, discussing the plans that would shape Wexner's vision for the village.

Pleasnick, 76, said he recalled Wexner saying, "I want you to have no limits in terms of what you think the best community you can think about would look like."

He said he knew right away what that meant.

"I knew that (Wexner) was successful in almost every venture that he did," Pleasnick said.

Pleasnick, who had moved to New Albany from Johnstown in 1991, served on the planning commission and board of zoning appeals before beginning in 1997 what would become a 20-year stint on the village -- and eventually, city -- council.

He is set to retire at the end of the month. He previously told ThisWeek he is stepping down because he wants to spend more time at his summer home in South Carolina, and he doesn't believe he can do so while remaining on New Albany City Council.

Pleasnick's legacy of civil service in New Albany has included a role in forming the parks and trail system and a hand in selecting City Manager Joe Stefanov.

Stefanov described Pleasnick as a level-headed, forward-thinking legislator.

Pleasnick's historical knowledge from his tenure on the council has given him the opportunity to provide insight and anticipate future needs as the city moves forward with new projects, Stefanov said.

"He's just been fantastic to work with," he said.

Pleasnick's professional career has also contributed to his role in civil service.

His leadership experience from serving as superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities -- a role he held from 1973 through 1999 -- allowed him to share advice with him when he was starting out as city manager, Stefanov said.

That professional background in civil service led Pleasnick to join the New Albany Planning Commission in 1992 shortly after moving to New Albany. He stayed on the commission for two years before joining the board of zoning appeals in 1994.

From there, Pleasnick was appointed to New Albany Village Council in 1997. At the next general election, he ran for the balance of his term.

Pleasnick said he counts among his proudest accomplishments his role in development of New Albany's parks. He and representatives from Plain Township and the New Albany-Plain Local School District started the discussion of how a parks system would look in New Albany, he said.

"I'm really, really pleased (with the way that plan evolved)," Pleasnick said.

He also said he is proud to have served as a council liaison to the parks and trails advisory board, which advises city leaders where trails should go and how they should look. That group has made a mission of closing the loops in the trails system, he said.

Pleasnick said he is most proud of his role in selecting Stefanov as city manager, who has been on the job since 2000.

He said he didn't know Stefanov at the time, but read his resume and interviewed him along with others. He said he considered himself a good judge of character from his career experience as superintendent of the board of developmental disabilities.

"I knew immediately that he was the one," Pleasnick said.

Pleasnick said Stefanov's selection of a strong staff is why he feels comfortable retiring.

"I'm not feeling like I'm leaving the city I care about in the lurch," he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah