It probably sounds like a broken record to many when community leaders point to the collaboration that commonly occurs in New Albany, but it's accurate.
New Albany city leaders recently joined with school district, township and other segments of the community to break ground on Rose Run Park.
And like so many other projects in New Albany, the vision for a special gathering place for the community began with a collaborative planning effort and a few generous donors.
In 2003, an anonymous donor contributed $20,000 to the New Albany Community Foundation. That donation was matched by the Wexner family for the purpose of funding a planning effort for the Rose Run creek area.
The New Albany Co. had just donated the 7-acre property along the south side of Dublin-Granville Road, across from the Learning Community Campus.
The land was important for several reasons, these among them:
* It's situated in the heart of the historic village center.
* It contained the only waterway in town.
* It had the potential to remain a barrier separating the school campus from the market-street district, or it could serve as a focal point, connecting the two.
The foundation engaged the respected landscape architecture and urban-design planning firm, Myers-Schmalenberger, to lead the initial planning effort.
Its principal, Keith Myers, was the village planner at that time. The firm later became MKSK and developed the current plan that's under construction.
From the beginning, Myers understood the importance of this strategically located land and how it could transform New Albany in a positive way if planned correctly.
Since 2003, city leaders have been working with MKSK. To their credit, they sought input from the community and from NACO planners on the best use of the land.
With the groundbreaking just weeks ago, most believe the plan being executed is indeed going to transform the town center in a profoundly positive way. It will create a place where residents and families gather, where community events can be hosted and where residents can connect with nature.
Moreover, it will provide a strong connection so that students visiting the Market Square area after school can walk or bike there safely. Similarly, residents having dinner at Market Street will be able to walk to the McCoy Center or amphitheater easily and safely to take in a performance or lecture.
I commend our city leaders for their careful, thoughtful planning, for the vision to see what was possible and for prioritizing the funding of this project.
Although the construction period creates some inconvenience, the result will be extraordinarily wonderful for the entire community.
Dennis Welch is a member of the New Albany Community Foundation's board of trustees and a past board chairman.