New Albany leaders plan to purchase nearly 100 acres to serve as a "green gateway" to the city.

The 98-acre property known as Taylor Farm is at 5526 Dublin-Granville Road at the western entrance to the city, according to city officials and a legislative report to New Albany City Council members.

Council on Jan. 21 approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Joseph Stefanov to enter into a real-estate purchase agreement with the New Albany Co.

The property is a farm field, with some wooded areas toward the back, Stefanov said. A barn and house are on the property, and city leaders have not decided whether they are salvageable for creative uses, he said.

Tom Rubey, development director for the New Albany Co., said the development company plans to purchase the property between the end of February and early March.

The owner of the land on Dublin-Granville Road is listed as William A. Morse, an attorney with a law office in Worthington, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office website. The land was transferred into Morse's name in December after previously being listed in the name of Eleanor L. Taylor, according to the auditor's website.

ThisWeek left Morse messages Jan. 24 and 27 seeking comment for this story.

Rubey said the transformational project would reshape part of the city's western boundary.

"It is a beautiful green gateway into New Albany," he said.

New Albany likely will not purchase the land from the New Albany Co. until the second half of the year, after an environmental analysis of the land is completed, Stefanov said.

The total acquisition cost will be $2,670,500, Stefanov said. The legislative report said the New Albany Co. has a purchase-option agreement for the property as part of a larger land acquisition.

An $857,250 Clean Ohio Green Space Conservation Program state grant will go toward that total, as will the city's contribution of $813,250, Stefanov said. The New Albany Co. will contribute $1 million, he said.

The land has significant environmental impediments to development, Stefanov said. A floodplain and wetlands run through the property, he said.

The city would add wetlands to areas that are subject to flooding and add leisure trails throughout the property, Stefanov said. Scenic views and outlooks also would be created, he said.

"The idea is to return it to its natural state," he said.

Because Columbus now has commercial development on Hamilton Road, the land will be a buffer between residential communities and the Hamilton Quarter development to the west, Stefanov said.

The property also is close to the village center, and connecting leisure trails would be a benefit for residents, he said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

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