There's always a plan in New Albany.
And a 15-year-old idea to transform an area around Rose Run creek finally is coming to fruition.
The city expects to unveil the $17 million Rose Run Park project next fall.
"Every great community has a place, that one spot where they can gather to celebrate and host events," Mayor Sloan Spalding said. "This will be our place."
Among the park's notable features: a brick-and-iron pedestrian bridge that crosses Rose Run; a leisure trail that weaves through the park and at times runs alongside the water; a "bike hub," with benches and tools for making the most common repairs; and two areas of green space.
One will be adjacent to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, with seating to read and relax and two sections of lawn for events.
Adrienne Joly, New Albany's director of administrative services, said the idea to have an outdoor gathering space next to the library was inspired, in part, by Topiary Park near the Main Library in downtown Columbus.
The other will be a lawn with terraces for seating. It will be on the opposite side of the project -- across the creek and Dublin-Granville Road -- on the New Albany-Plain School District's campus, where all the school buildings are located.
Joly said the green space would connect the district campus with New Albany's Market Square, which includes the library, the community's fitness and wellness center and numerous businesses -- fulfilling a major goal of the new park.
"The way the areas developed doesn't foster the flow of people back and forth," Joly said.
But city leaders hope the park changes that.
In anticipation of increased foot traffic -- students walking to Starbucks after school, for example, or residents strolling from dinner in the Market Square to an event at the Jeanne B. McCoy Center for the Arts -- a half-mile stretch of Dublin-Granville Road will be overhauled, Spalding said.
The road will remain two lanes, but in an attempt to slow traffic and increase safety, those lanes will be narrowed and the surface will go from traditional asphalt to brick. There also will be a crosswalk leading toward the pedestrian bridge and a half-mile of protected bike lane.
"We realized we couldn't build the park we wanted to build with the road as it is today," Joly said.
The project, which spans 11 acres, represents a significant milestone for New Albany: It is the city's first full-fledged park.
There are small, neighborhood parks throughout the community, and three parks operated by the New Albany Parks and Recreation Department, which is a separate entity from the city government, Joly said. But the city, which sold bonds to finance the project, will be wholly responsible for Rose Run Park.
"It's a big step for us," Joly said. "People are looking for strong civic spaces and a sense of community."
Spalding added, "We wanted to make it right, and this plan fits all our expectations."