Latest New Albany strategic plan addresses variety of issues

Gary Seman Jr.
ThisWeek group

New Albany residents want more retail and restaurants – but not too much – closer to their individual neighborhoods.

They also want the city to be more inclusive and welcoming, according to the New Albany Strategic Plan, adopted by City Council on March 16.

Adrienne Joly, director of administrative services, said the latest five-year plan offers guidance on capital improvements, economic development and community amenities, among other issues facing the city.

New Albany Village Hall is at 99 W. Main St.

“We feel it’s pretty important to check in with the community regularly and ask them what we’re doing well and make sure what they’re needs are going forward,” Joly said.

More than 1,300 residents participated in the process, which included 21 months of community meetings, surveys and other forms of dialogue, she said.

Economic development was a major part of the plan, as 31 percent of land use is devoted to residential and 43 percent is dedicated to business. In other words, commercial land use exceeds residential, which is uncommon in central Ohio, she said.

As more than 80% of the city’s general-fund revenues come from income taxes, the city hopes to advance policies that will continue to reduce the residential tax burden by growing the percentage of revenue from commercial uses, Joly said.

With the city changing, New Albany officials want to keep up with residents’ desires, she said.

“We heard things like people wanted more amenities and more retail and restaurant uses close to where their neighborhoods are,” she said.

Participants also are seeking more housing opportunities: townhouses and flats, residences for empty-nesters, senior accommodations and more luxury estates.

“Households are changing, and that’s changing what communities need to provide,” she said.

The plan also calls for increased mixed-use areas, or hamlets, around Central College and New Albany-Condit roads and at the five-points intersection, where Central College, Johnstown and Kitzmiller roads come together, Joly said.

The plan further addressed issues such as mobility, sustainability and inclusion, she said.

“We got input on how to be a more welcoming and inclusive community,” Joly said. “The things we heard were to make sure communications are wide open, that programming meets the needs of resident and that community initiatives enhance community well-being.”

Chris Hermann, one of the participants, said he was impressed with the amount of participation, most of which was done before the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“Two important things that came up were sustainability and well-being and rightly so. We gave those both their own chapters in the community plan,” Hermann said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary