This month, the city of New Albany kicks off its latest strategic-plan update, Engage New Albany, a process that will involve the entire community in cultivating a shared vision for the future designed to improve our quality of life and protect investment for the long term.

Master planning is among the many things that bring us together and set us apart as a community. Since the first master plan was adopted in 1998, it has been updated every five years, based on community input and sound planning principles, to effectively manage the growth that we, like many communities, experience.

Residents can learn more about the strategic plan June 27 during the New Albany Farmers Market from 4 to 7 p.m. at Market Square and take part in our first community workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. July 23 at the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, 150 W. Main St.

Public participation is at the heart of New Albany's ability to determine what matters most during the planning process.

Together, we proactively plan for an outstanding community of choice, including pedestrian-friendly amenities, connectivity, mixed-use environments, parks and open spaces, quality architecture, traditional neighborhoods, versatile residential choices, strategic economic development and purposeful environmental sustainability.

We also work to ensure that New Albany's four pillars -- lifelong learning, arts and culture, health and wellness and environmental sustainability -- are reflected in our future vision.

Directed by the New Albany Community Development Department, an internal working group led by planning, urban-design and landscape-architecture firm MKSK is overseeing the planning process.

A steering committee of representatives of neighborhoods, businesses, government agencies, community groups and local institutions will guide the plan's development and work closely with the city and its consultants.

Three community workshops will allow us to share our progress, solicit input and gather feedback. A series of focus group roundtables will stimulate discussion around critical areas, including community services, amenities, transportation, sustainability, the Village Center and parks and open spaces. Mobile meetings, neighborhood gatherings and surveys will promote participation and prompt further dialogue.

As a master-planned community, we are deliberate in our decision-making process, which enables us to manage growth and development by prioritizing community needs, prudently allocating city revenue, guiding private development, maintaining community character, prioritizing public infrastructure investment and generating income to support services.

Under the direction of New Albany City Council and New Albany City Manager Joseph Stefanov, the community-development department evaluates every land use and development decision to determine consistency with our strategic plan and architectural and aesthetic requirements, while delivering the best return on investment. Our council and board and commission members provide the checks and balances that protect the integrity of these plans.

Throughout the summer, fall and winter, we will continue to engage and update the community on our progress. We look forward to your input and encourage you to visit

Adrienne Joly is director of administrative services for New Albany.