Quality of Life

Community Update from Jack W. Kessler | Summer 2021

August 25th, 2021

This is my first New Albany community update in a long while, and I wanted to begin by saying I sincerely hope you and your family are healthy and doing well.

It’s been truly inspiring to watch our community come together, and to see so many individuals, organizations and businesses reach out to connect with and help others during the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The efforts of individuals, businesses and student organizations to produce and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), and the scaling up of the New Albany Food Pantry to help families in need was a reminder of why this is such a special place to live and work.  Read the complete update…

A Tribute to Jaquelin T. Robertson, Architect and Planner Who Helped Shape New Albany

June 4th, 2020

“Places of value stand out among all places in the world. They’re recognizable. They leave a mark and an imprint in the memory. And that difference makes all the difference.”
— Jaquelin T. Robertson

Image of Mr. Jaquelin RobertsonNew Albany’s distinctive architectural identity is the result of a shared vision. One of the authors of that vision is Jaquelin T. Robertson (1933–2020), a world-renowned architect and planner who, during his half-century-long career, helped America rediscover its own architectural heritage.

Mr. Robertson, known as “Jaque” (pronounced “Jack”), first began consulting for the New Albany Company in 1989. Having recently completed an eight-year tenure as dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, he and his New York City-based firm, Cooper Robertson, left an indelible mark on the community. Mr. Robertson led the design of the clubhouse at New Albany Country Club as well as Bottomley Crescent, one of the first streets to open in the Country Club Community. Mr. Robertson also helped craft the community’s master plan, working closely with Les Wexner and Jack Kessler, along with other expert planners such as Gerald McCue and Laurie Olin.

To ensure a consistently high quality of design throughout the community, Mr. Robertson helped train local builders and architects in the art of traditional brick construction. He also wrote some of the design guidelines for the Country Club Community, emphasizing harmonious composition and authentic details in the Georgian style. Mr. Robertson’s knowledge and guidance subsequently informed other architects’ designs for the community learning campus, the New Albany Branch Library, and Village Hall. As the community’s business park began to develop in the late 1990s, Mr. Robertson helped the New Albany Company create appropriate architecture and planning standards so that the commercial buildings would respect the landscape and the scale of the community.

Jaque Robertson grew up in Windsor Farms, Virginia, a graceful residential community on the edge of Richmond. Recalling a typical English village surrounding a common green, it served as one of several key precedents for the planning of New Albany. Mr. Robertson’s love of architecture was fueled by his family’s Georgian-Palladian home, called Milburne, which was designed by master architect William Lawrence Bottomley—the namesake of New Albany’s Bottomley Crescent. Mr. Robertson also spent part of his childhood in Beijing, where is father, the diplomat Walter Robertson, was stationed. This cosmopolitan environment helped fuel Mr. Robertson’s lifelong interest in urban design as a complement of architecture. Each individual building, he believed, should feel connected to the larger community. The parts should form a whole.

Mr. Robertson earned two degrees from Yale and studied at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In the early 1960s he worked for prestigious New York architect Edward Larrabee Barnes. He then became a senior urban planner in the administration of New York City Mayor John Lindsay, and took on international planning and design projects in the private sector. Returning to his native Virginia in 1980, Mr. Robertson led the architecture school at UVA, where he looked with fresh eyes upon the Classical tradition in architecture. He believed that Renaissance Italy and Georgian Britain and America still offered relevant lessons. His thinking was encapsulated in his treatise, In Search of an American Urban Order, in which he sought to apply Thomas Jefferson’s architectural principles to the challenges of modern life.

When Mr. Robertson came to New Albany, he was impressed with Wexner and Kessler’s vision to build a timeless American community. “To come upon this crowd in New Albany was just such a shock,” he recalled in 2015, during a Jefferson Series panel event at The McCoy. “Les was so committed to quality, and you don’t get that in our world anymore. No one in the country was doing things this way. It was so rare and so incredibly brave.”

Mr. Robertson showed Wexner and Kessler around some of his favorite buildings and communities, from Monticello to East Hampton, New York. When Wexner chartered a flight for roughly 45 Central Ohio builders and architects to go to Richmond for the day, Mr. Robertson led them on a tour of the city’s handsome Georgian homes. They returned with a clearer understanding of the subtle language of brick: specialized bonds or patterns, “grapevine” mortar joints, water tables, arched openings, glazed headers, decorative “rubbed” bricks, and many other techniques.

As Mr. Robertson once said in a Town & Country interview, “The symbolic hard currency of architecture is classical. It’s gold in the bank. The other stuff is leveraged buyouts and soybean futures.”

Apart from his work in New Albany, Mr. Robertson is remembered for his role in designing civic and university buildings, museums, corporate headquarters, club/resort environments, and community master plans. He also designed elegant country homes for prominent clients, typically evoking the spirit of older buildings without imitating them directly. He received the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture in 1998 and the Driehaus Prize, an award for excellence in traditional architecture, in 2007.

New Albany honors the memory of Mr. Robertson, and we treasure his enduring contributions to our community.

New Albany Named to 24/7 Wall Street’s 2019 Best Cities to Live List Cited in USA Today

January 7th, 2019

NEW ALBANY, OHIO – New Albany, Ohio is honored to be recognized as one of the best cities to live by USA TODAY’s 2019 Best Cities to Live List.

There are nearly 20,000 villages, towns and cities across the 50 states, and not all of them are equally conducive to the well-being of those who live there.

While quality of life is subject to a range of factors – close relationships and personal health being among the most important – the local community and environment can also have a meaningful impact.

When it comes to choosing a place to call home, everyone has their own priorities and subjective tastes. Still, there are specific attributes some communities share that are almost universally desirable: safe streets, a strong economy, affordability and a range of entertainment options, to name a few.

24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of over two dozen measures to identify the best city to live in each state. We considered all boroughs, census designated places, cities, towns and villages with at least 8,000 residents.

These cities tend to have much in common beyond the index components upon which they were ranked. For one, these communities are often within commuting distance of a major metropolitan area. This is no coincidence, as close proximity to a major city provides residents with access to more job opportunities, which in turn can help lower unemployment and improve financial security.

The best cities to live in include ones just outside of Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh and Washington.

1. Valley, Alabama

• Population: 9,439
• 5 yr. population change: -0.8 percent
• Median home value: $82,900
• Median household income: $39,387

The majority of the cities on this list are relatively wealthy. Valley, Alabama, is an exception. The typical household in Valley earns just $39,387 a year, about $5,000 less than the typical Alabama household. Still, serious financial hardship is less common in Valley than in Alabama as a whole as 15.7 percent of area residents live below the poverty line, well below the 18.4 percent state poverty rate. Valley residents also benefit from a low cost of living as goods and services are about 6 percent less expensive in the city than they are nationwide on average.

Valley is a pilot city for the Alabama Communities of Excellence program, a non-profit that partners with governments, businesses, and universities to prepare participating communities for a more vibrant future.

2. Ketchikan, Alaska

• Population: 8,189
• 5 yr. population change: +2.3 percent
• Median home value: $232,500
• Median household income: $53,937

Health outcomes are an important factor in the overall quality of life in a given area. In Ketchikan, Alaska, the mortality rate of people admitted to the hospital is 12.2 per 100,000 hospital admissions within 30 days. That figure is the lowest of any major metropolitan area in the state. Ketchikan is the only metro area in Alaska with a mortality rate lower than the U.S. mortality rate of 12.9 per 100,000.

Thanks to its scenery along the southeastern coast of Alaska and proximity to the continental United States, Ketchikan is a popular tourist destination, especially on cruises. Though much of Alaska is isolated and rural, Ketchikan offers residents and visitors access to many more entertainment options than most parts of the state – which can be important during the long, dark winters. Ketchikan has more bars, restaurants, and movie theaters than almost anywhere else in the state.

3. Paradise Valley, Arizona

• Population: 13,833
• 5 yr. population change: +5.6 percent
• Median home value: $1,332,600
• Median household income: $173,487

Most houses in Paradise Valley, Arizona, are worth over $1.3 million, more than seven times the U.S. median home value. Paradise Valley residents are able to afford such expensive houses because of their relatively high incomes. The typical household in the city earns $173,487 a year, one of the highest median household incomes in the country.

Paradise Valley lives up to its name as a popular destination to relax. The town is home to several resorts and a number of golf courses. Located just north of Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is also known for its high-end dining and nightlife.

4. Batesville, Arkansas

• Population: 10,579
• 5 yr. population change: +4.5 percent
• Median home value: $120,400
• Median household income: $42,143

Batesville, Arkansas, ranks among the best U.S. cities to live largely due to its affordability and community attractions and amenities. Most homeowners in Batesville pay less than $1,000 a year in property taxes, less than half the amount the typical American homeowner pays. Overall annual housing costs typically come to about $7,500 a year, roughly $4,600 less than the median costs nationwide. Goods and services are 16 percent less expensive on average in Batesville than they are nationwide.

With roots as far back as 1804, Batesville is the second oldest city in Arkansas. The city, which avoided destruction in the Civil War, has a number of historic buildings and sites. There are attractions in the area for nearly every taste and preference, including antique stores, art galleries, an annual film festival, and the Batesville Motor Speedway.

5. Palos Verdes Estates, California

• Population: 13,582
• 5 yr. population change: +1.3 percent
• Median home value: $1,609,500
• Median household income: $200,766

Located along the Pacific Coast less than 30 miles from Los Angeles, Palos Verdes Estates is the best place in California to live. One of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country, the typical household earns over $200,000 a year, more than triple the national median household income of $55,322. Crime is virtually unheard of in Palos Verdes Estates as its violent crime rate of 22 incidents per 100,000 people is a small fraction of the national rate of 383 per 100,000.

The high ranking may not come as a surprise to those familiar with it, as it is a master-planned city, designed by the Olmsted Brothers, sons of Frederick Law Olmsted – architect of New York City’s Central Park and the Stanford University campus.

6. Frederick, Colorado

• Population: 10,791
• 5 yr. population change: +32.2 percent
• Median home value: $261,500
• Median household income: $90,321

Frederick, a small town about a half hour north of Denver, ranks as Colorado’s best city to live in. The town boasts a number of amenities that make it an attractive place to live, including a museum, a golf course, over 20 community parks, 25 skiing areas in driving distance, and over 300 sunny days a year.

Like many communities on this list, Frederick is relatively affluent and fast growing. The typical area household earns $90,321 a year, about $27,800 more than the median income across Colorado as a whole. Additionally, in the last five years, the number of people living in Frederick climbed 32.2 percent. For reference, the U.S. population grew by just 3.9 percent over the same period.

7. Darien, Connecticut

• Population: 21,519
• 5 yr. population change: +4.6 percent
• Median home value: $1,248,200
• Median household income: $208,125

Darien, Connecticut is home to one of the wealthiest and best educated populations in the country. Well over half of all households in Darien earn at least $200,000 a year and about four out of five adults in Darien have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Nationwide, fewer than one in three adults have a bachelor’s degree. A high median income is bolstered not only by high educational attainment, but also by a strong job market. Just 3.6 percent of workers in Darien were unemployed in 2017, below the 4.7 percent state and 4.4 percent national 2017 unemployment rates.

Darien is also one of the safest communities in the country. There were just 14 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2017, a fraction of the 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people nationwide.

8. Middletown, Delaware

• Population: 20,045
• 5 yr. population change: +13.8 percent
• Median home value: $274,400
• Median household income: $87,250

Middletown ranks as the best community in Delaware to live in. The town boasts several public parks with a range of amenities, including tennis and basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, pavilions, a track, and a pool. A relatively affluent area, Middletown has a median income of $87,250, about $26,200 more than the median income in Delaware as a whole. Home values are also about 18 percent higher than the average across the state and over half of all homes in Middletown are worth over a quarter-million dollars.

Like many of the cities and towns on this list, Middletown is growing rapidly. In the last five years, Middletown’s population climbed 13.8 percent.

9. Pinecrest, Florida

• Population: 19,272
• 5 yr. population change: +5.2 percent
• Median home value: $840,900
• Median household income: $130,900

Pinecrest is by far the wealthiest place in Florida, and one of the wealthiest in the entire country. With a median household income of $130,900, most Pinecrest households earn more than double what the typical Florida household earns, which is $48,900. Partially because of the area’s relatively high income, the typical home in Pinecrest costs more than $840,000 – more than four times the median Florida home.

A Miami suburb just off Biscayne Bay, Pinecrest is also one of the best educated areas of the state. Among adults 25 and older, 61.7 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree. Statewide, just 27.9 percent of adults finished college.

10. Milton, Georgia

• Population: 36,755
• 5 yr. population change: +19.1 percent
• Median home value: $475,300
• Median household income: $109,784

A planned community incorporated in 2006, Milton is one of the most rapidly growing cities in Georgia. Now home to nearly 37,000 people, Milton’s population more than doubled since 2009 and is projected to reach 43,000 by 2030. In commuting distance of Atlanta, many Milton residents likely commute to high paying jobs in the state’s largest city. The typical household in Milton earns $109,784 a year, more than double the median income of $51,037 across the state as a whole. Similarly, Milton’s poverty rate of 5.5 percent is less than a third of the 17.8 percent statewide poverty rate.

Milton is also a safe city. There were just 23 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in 2017, a fraction of the 383 per 100,000 national rate.

11. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

• Population: 349,597
• 5 yr. population change: +4.3 percent
• Median home value: $601,500
• Median household income: $63,361

Education can be an important factor in the health and well being of a population. In addition to being more financial stable, college graduates tend to live longer and healthier lives than those who did not obtain at least a bachelor’s degree. A high level of education helps make Urban Honolulu the best city to live in Hawaii. Among Honolulu adults, 36 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, the highest rate in Hawaii.

Long commutes by car can have a negative effect on physical and mental health. Honolulu residents utilize alternative methods of getting to and from work. Roughly one in every eight residents takes public transportation to work, while many others walk or ride their bicycles. Altogether, 22.9 percent of commuters do not drive themselves to their jobs, over five times more than the next closest city in Hawaii.

12. Hailey, Idaho

• Population: 8,058
• 5 yr. population change: +2.6 percent
• Median home value: $266,500
• Median household income: $56,522

Hailey is situated in Idaho’s Wood River Valley in the Rocky Mountains. The city is surrounded by public land and forests where residents and visitors can hike, bike, ski, fish, and horseback ride, and is a short drive from Ketchum and Sun Valley, two resort towns.

Quality of life for residents is boosted by lower than average crime, poverty, and unemployment rates. While the median household income of $56,522 in Hailey is only about $1,000 higher than the national median income, a dollar goes further in Hailey than in much of the rest of the country. Goods and services are about 4 percent less expensive than they are nationwide on average.

13. Winnetka, Illinois

• Population: 12,437
• 5 yr. population change: +2.3 percent
• Median home value: $989,600
• Median household income: $207,857

Winnetka is a small village that sits on the shores of Lake Michigan about 15 miles north of downtown Chicago. One of the wealthiest cities in the state, the typical Winnetka household earns $207,857 a year. Winnetka residents working in Chicago have options when it comes to transit, as over one quarter of commuters use public transportation – an alternative most Americans do not have.

In the village, downtown shops were described by the Chicago Tribune in 2012 as reminiscent of the Hamptons on Long Island in New York, without the celebrities. Winnetka boasts four beaches, a boat launch, several parks, a tennis club, a golf course, an ice rink, and forest preserve areas, all open to the public.

14. Jasper, Indiana

• Population: 15,790
• 5 yr. population change: +6.6 percent
• Median home value: $148,200
• Median household income: $55,209

Jasper is one of the most affordable places to live in Indiana. The cost of living in the city is just 83.6 percent of what the typical American pays. The median household income in Jasper of $55,209 is higher than Indiana’s median of $50,433. The combination of relatively high income and low costs, as compared to the rest of the state, makes Jasper residents more able to afford homes compared to those in most other areas of Indiana. The median home price in Jasper is $148,200, compared to Indiana’s median home price of $126,500.

Jasper residents are much less likely to struggle with money than the average Indiana resident. Statewide, 15 percent of Indiana residents live in poverty. In Jasper, the poverty rate is less than half that, at 7.1 percent.

15. Le Mars, Iowa

• Population: 9,826
• 5 yr. population change: +1.0 percent
• Median home value: $139,400
• Median household income: $56,851

Le Mars, Iowa, is among the most affordable cities in the United States. Goods and services in the city cost about 15 percent less on average than they do nationwide. Housing is particularly inexpensive, with the typical household spending $8,124 a year, about $4,000 less than the average annual housing cost nationwide.

The city also has its share of attractions. Home to a Blue Bunny ice cream manufacturing plant, Le Mars churns out more ice cream from a single company than any other city, earning the nickname “The Ice Cream Capital of the World.” The city and surrounding area also boast a history museum, an art museum, a golf course, a campground, and of course, an ice cream museum.

16. McPherson, Kansas

• Population: 13,212
• 5 yr. population change: +0.0 percent
• Median home value: $135,800
• Median household income: $54,057

The median household income in McPherson, Kansas of $54,057 a year is just below the national median of $55,322. However, a dollar goes a long way in McPherson as goods and services are 14 percent less expensive than they are on average nationwide. Indeed, extreme financial hardship is relatively rare in the city. Just 7.3 percent of residents live in poverty compared to 13.3 percent of the Kansas population.

McPherson residents also have many options when it comes to entertainment and recreation. The city has a far greater than typical concentration of restaurants, fitness centers, museums, golf courses, and movie theatres.

17. Edgewood, Kentucky

• Population: 8,703
• 5 yr. population change: +0.5 percent
• Median home value: $204,300
• Median household income: $89,073

The best city to live in in Kentucky, Edgewood is both wealthy and affordable. The typical household in Edgewood earns $89,073, nearly double the $44,811 median income across the state as a whole. Additionally, goods and services are about 11 percent less expensive in Edgewood than they are nationwide on average.

Overall quality of life in Edgewood is boosted by two large public parks and an easily accessible hospital and medical care center within city limits. Located about seven miles south of Cincinnati across the Ohio River, Edgewood – like many cities on this list – is in commuting distance of a major metropolitan area.

18. Youngsville, Louisiana

• Population: 10,878
• 5 yr. population change: +41.5 percent
• Median home value: $222,300
• Median household income: $94,564

Youngsville is a relatively prosperous city in one of the poorest states in the country. The typical Youngsville household earns about $95,000 a year and just 5.5 percent of the population live in poverty. Meanwhile, the typical Louisiana household earns less than $46,000 a year and nearly one in five state residents live in poverty. A dollar also goes farther than typical in Youngsville, as goods and services are about 7 percent less expensive than they are on average nationwide.

Youngsville residents have benefitted from a 70 acre, multimillion dollar sports complex since its completion in 2014 and a recreation center that opened in 2016. The facility boasts 10 tennis courts, six soccer fields, five baseball fields, batting cages, a fishing pond, a one-mile walking path, and a playground.

19. Bath, Maine

• Population: 8,334
• 5 yr. population change: -3.6 percent
• Median home value: $164,600
• Median household income: $42,275

Bath is the best place to live in Maine. Bolstered largely by Bath Iron Works, a shipbuilding plant operated by defense giant General Dynamics, the city’s job market is relatively strong. Annual unemployment in the city, located near the mouth of the Kennebec River, stands at 3.2 percent, well below the 4.4 percent national rate. Many residents also benefit from the city’s walkability as more than one in 10 commuters in Bath walk to work, more than triple the comparable national share. The city is also relatively safe, and also has a high concentration of restaurants, fitness centers, museums, and libraries.

Despite its advantages, Bath is one of only a handful of cities on this list to be shrinking in size. Over the last five years, Bath’s population declined by 3.6 percent, even as the total U.S. population grew 3.9 percent.

20. Bowie, Maryland

• Population: 57,633
• 5 yr. population change: +5.7 percent
• Median home value: $303,900
• Median household income: $106,098

Just a short commute from Washington, D.C., Bowie, Maryland, provides easy access to high-paying jobs in and around the nation’s capital. Most households in Bowie earn more than $106,000 per year – over $30,000 higher than Maryland’s state median household income. Just a small share of Bowie residents live in poverty. Its poverty rate is just 3.3 percent, just one-third of the state’s poverty rate.

In order to qualify for these high-level jobs, many of Bowie’s residents are well-educated. Nearly half of all adults living in Bowie hold at least a college degree, as compared to 38.4 percent of Maryland residents overall.

21. Winchester, Massachusetts

• Population: 22,491
• 5 yr. population change: +6.1 percent
• Median home value: $796,500
• Median household income: $149,321

Winchester is the best-educated place in Massachusetts and one of the most highly-educated in the entire country. Nearly three-quarters of adults in the area have at least a bachelor’s degree. This college degree attainment rate is well above that of Massachusetts, which sits at 41.2 percent.

This high level of education, coupled with the fact that Winchester is just outside of Boston, can make it easier for residents to find jobs. Winchester has the lowest unemployment rate, at 2.7 percent, of anywhere in the state. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate is a full percentage point higher. This high level of employment likely helps drive down the poverty rate in Winchester. Just 2.4 percent of Winchester residents live below the poverty line, the lowest share in Massachusetts.

22. East Grand Rapids, Michigan

• Population: 11,297
• 5 yr. population change: +5.2 percent
• Median home value: $303,400
• Median household income: $118,393

East Grand Rapids is one of the wealthiest cities in both Michigan and the United States. The typical area household earns over $118,000 a year, compared to the $55,322 the typical household earns nationwide. City residents also benefit from a low cost of living as goods and services are 7 percent less expensive in East Grand Rapids than they are on average nationwide.

In addition to entertainment and cultural attractions in nearby Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids has 10 parks, including a lake with a boat launch, miles of trails, playgrounds, and a baseball field.

23. New Ulm, Minnesota

• Population: 13,279
• 5 yr. population change: -1.6 percent
• Median home value: $133,100
• Median household income: $52,244

Residents of New Ulm, Minnesota, are more likely to work and be financially secure, on average, than most other Americans. The town’s poverty rate of 8.5 percent is well below the national poverty rate of 15.1 percent. Also, the town’s five-year average unemployment rate of 2.6 percent is 4.8 percentage points below the comparable nationwide rate.

These numbers are better than the comparable national figures despite the fact that New Ulm residents tend to not be especially wealthy. The town’s median household income of $52,244 a year is several thousand dollars lower than the U.S. median household income. Unlike almost all other places on this list, New Ulm’s population shrank over the past five years. During a time when the U.S. population grew 3.9 percent, New Ulm’s population dropped 1.6 percent.

24. Madison, Mississippi

• Population: 25,473
• 5 yr. population change: +7.1 percent
• Median home value: $243,500
• Median household income: $100,978

Madison, a city located along a reservoir less than 20 miles north of the state capital, ranks as Mississippi’s best city to live in. Madison is a relatively wealthy community, with a median income of $100,978 – more than double the $40,528 median income statewide. The average cost of living in Madison is also about 8 percent lower than it is nationwide.

Madison residents have access to several public parks with amenities that include an archery range, baseball and soccer fields, walking trails, batting cages, and an outdoor learning center.

25. Ladue, Missouri

• Population: 8,579
• 5 yr. population change: +1.1 percent
• Median home value: $771,500
• Median household income: $186,371

One of the wealthiest cities in Missouri, Ladue’s median household income of $186,371 a year is more than triple the national median income of $55,322. Not only is Ladue a wealthy city, but it is also inexpensive. Goods and services are 11 percent cheaper on average in Ladue than they are typically nationwide.

With easy access to jobs in nearby St. Louis, Ladue residents who want a job generally have no trouble finding one. Over the last five years, unemployment stood at just 2.0 percent in the city, a fraction of the national rate of 7.4 percent. In addition to cultural attractions and entertainment venues in St. Louis, Ladue residents enjoy a greater than typical concentration of restaurants, fitness and recreation centers, golf courses, and museums within their own city limits.

26. Miles City, Montana

• Population: 8,667
• 5 yr. population change: +3.6 percent
• Median home value: $130,100
• Median household income: $47,383

Miles City is the least expensive place to live in Montana. The city has the lowest property taxes at just $1,480 per year, as well as the least expensive median monthly housing cost at $655. Though Miles City’s $47,383 median household income is one of the lower such figures in Montana, a relatively small share of residents are impoverished. The area’s poverty rate of 13.5 percent is one of the lowest in the state, and well below Montana’s statewide poverty rate of 14.9 percent.

Miles City ranks as Montana’s best city to live in part because it is the safest place in the state. Its violent crime rate of 104 reported incidents per 100,000 residents is less than half the rate of the next safest place in the state. Miles City also has Montana’s lowest property crime rate.

27. Norfolk, Nebraska

• Population: 24,398
• 5 yr. population change: +1.9 percent
• Median home value: $123,200
• Median household income: $45,401

Norfolk is a small city of just under 25,000 in northeastern Nebraska. A relatively safe city, Norfolk’s violent crime rate of 148 incidents per 100,000 residents is less than half the national rate of 383 per 100,000. Though the typical household in Norfolk earns just $45,401 a year, about $10,000 less than the typical American household, a dollar goes a long way in Norfolk. Goods and services in and around the area are about 14.5 percent less expensive than they are nationwide on average.

28. Elko, Nevada

• Population: 20,078
• 5 yr. population change: +11.0 percent
• Median home value: $215,100
• Median household income: $76,826

Elko has by far the highest median household income of anywhere in Nevada. No other area in the state came within $20,000 of Elko’s median household income of $76,826. Although Elko residents tend to earn a relatively high amount, it is the least expensive place to live in Nevada. The cost of living in Elko is just 83.9 percent of what it costs in the typical American city.

Elko is the fastest-growing place in Nevada by a wide margin. In the past seven years, its population increased 18.7 percent to just over 20,000 people. During that same timeframe, no other place in the state had a population increase of more than 10 percent.

29. Hanover, New Hampshire

• Population: 8,482
• 5 yr. population change: +0.0 percent
• Median home value: $469,300
• Median household income: $96,406

Hanover has numerous advantages over other places in New Hampshire cities. Its median household income of $96,406 is more than $26,000 higher than the next closest city and well ahead of the statewide median, which is $68,485. Hanover is also the best educated place in the state, as 83.1 percent of adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree. No other city in New Hampshire comes close to that share. For comparison, the state’s bachelor’s degree attainment rate is 35.5 percent.

With a population of 8,482, Hanover is a smaller city. As such, many residents are able to walk to and from work. Walking not only provides numerous health benefits, but also helps decrease road traffic and reduce pollution. Some 40 percent of Hanover residents commute by walking – by far the highest rate in New Hampshire and the second highest rate of any U.S. city.

30. Haddonfield, New Jersey

• Population: 11,444
• 5 yr. population change: -1.3 percent
• Median home value: $487,700
• Median household income: $135,700

Haddonfield is one of the most economically prosperous places in New Jersey and the United States as a whole. The typical Haddonfield home earns $135,700, nearly $62,000 more than the typical New Jersey household. Haddonfield lies just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, providing its residents access to the jobs that city offers.

Compared to the rest of the state, Haddonfield residents are not likely to struggle with poverty. The area has a poverty rate of just 2.9 percent, well below New Jersey’s poverty rate of 10.9 percent. Though Haddonfield’s cost of living is 11 percent more than that of the average American city, it is still one of the lowest in New Jersey.

31. Los Alamos, New Mexico

• Population: 11,733
• 5 yr. population change: -2.9 percent
• Median home value: $277,700
• Median household income: $101,535

Los Alamos, New Mexico is flush with history, cultural amenities, and parks. These include a science museum, a theatre, nearly 100 public art installations, a network of over 90 miles of hiking trails, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park – a monument to the city’s critical role in World War II and development of the atomic bomb. Los Alamos also has one of the best public high schools in New Mexico, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Many living in the area work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a facility run by the U.S. Department of Energy with a $2.6 billion budget primarily allocated to weapons development.

32. Croton-on-Hudson, New York

• Population: 8,209
• 5 yr. population change: +2.8 percent
• Median home value: $519,400
• Median household income: $117,656

Croton-on-Hudson is a small village on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, less than 40 miles north of Manhattan. The village is on a train line that goes directly into the city, and largely as a result, more than one in every four workers in Croton-on-Hudson commute using public transit. The village’s proximity to New York City contributes to high property values as most homes in the community are worth over half a million dollars.

Croton-on-Hudson is one of the safest communities in New York. There were just 48 violent crimes for every 100,000 village residents in 2017, about an eighth of the national violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

33. Morrisville, North Carolina

• Population: 22,600
• 5 yr. population change: +30.5 percent
• Median home value: $291,400
• Median household income: $92,769

Morrisville is situated in the middle of North Carolina’s “Research Triangle.” The cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are each home to a major scientific research university – North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, respectively – and several major research-intensive industries have developed in the area.

Morrisville offers close access to each of the three universities, as well as the companies that are located nearby. Morrisville is one of the fastest-growing communities in the entire country. In the past five years, its population grew more than 30 percent, from just over 13,000 to 22,600.

34. Mandan, North Dakota

• Population: 20,613
• 5 yr. population change: +14.2 percent
• Median home value: $175,400
• Median household income: $60,034

Residents of Mandan, North Dakota benefit from a low cost of living – 13 percent lower than average nationwide – a five-year average unemployment rate of 2.0 percent, and a violent crime rate that is less than half the national rate. Mandan residents also have access to jobs, entertainment, and cultural attractions in Bismarck, the state capital located on the opposite side the Missouri River.

Recently, business leaders, elected officials, and ordinary citizens established a committee to form a comprehensive plan to improve Mandan over the coming decade. The committee’s accomplishments include broadened business support and incentives, the creation of annual festivals and events, public education improvements, and increased communication regarding local elections.

35. New Albany, Ohio

• Population: 9,384
• 5 yr. population change: +25.3 percent
• Median home value: $492,400
• Median household income: $191,375

New Albany, Ohio, is one of the most affluent cities in the country. The median household income of $191,375 is one of the five highest of U.S. cities. Wealthier areas tend to have a number of livability advantages over low-income cities, including lower crime rates. There were just 36.9 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in New Albany, less than a tenth of the nationwide crime rate. New Albany also has many amenities for residents, including over 600 acres of parks and sports fields.

There are a number of factors that can draw people to certain towns, including jobs, schools, and amenities. New Albany excels in many of these aspects, and its population growth rate reflects that. The town’s population grew by more than 25 percent over the past five years, compared to the national growth rate of just 3.9 percent.

36. Newcastle, Oklahoma

• Population: 9,030
• 5 yr. population change: +21.0 percent
• Median home value: $180,300
• Median household income: $78,144

Newcastle is a small city of less than 10,000 just outside Oklahoma City. One of the fastest growing cities in the state, Newcastle’s population spiked by 21 percent in the last five years. As in other cities on this list, Newcastle residents are actively engaged in bettering their community. The city’s resident-driven Bridge to 2020 initiative launched in 2007 to develop a long-term strategic plan for the community. In addition to nearby amenities in Oklahoma City, Newcastle boasts seven golf courses, six movie theatres, access to four hospitals, and two shopping malls.

A relatively affluent city, Newcastle’s median income of $78,144 is about $30,000 higher than it is statewide and goods and services are about 17 percent less expensive than they are nationwide.

37. Sherwood, Oregon

• Population: 18,965
• 5 yr. population change: +7.5 percent
• Median home value: $313,000
• Median household income: $86,111

Sherwood is a small city about 15 miles southwest of Portland. In addition to amenities, attractions, and employment opportunities in the nearby city, Sherwood itself boasts over a dozen parks and a community recreation center and pool.

Quality of life in Sherwood is also bolstered by a low violent crime rate and relative financial stability. There were just 82 violent crimes for every 100,000 residents in Sherwood in 2017, less than a quarter the national violent crime rate. Additionally, Sherwood’s 4.7 percent poverty rate is less than a third of both the state and national poverty rates of 15.7 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

38. Franklin Park, Pennsylvania

• Population: 14,228
• 5 yr. population change: +7.9 percent
• Median home value: $312,200
• Median household income: $121,661

Franklin Park, Pennsylvania, is a borough just outside of Pittsburgh. The area has a relatively high share of residents with high educational attainment. A whopping 70 percent of adults hold at least a bachelor’s degree, one of the higher college attainment rates among U.S. cities. Those with college degrees are more qualified for specialized jobs that tend to have higher salaries. In Franklin Park, the median household income of $121,661 a year is one of the highest in the country.

Like many affluent, well-educated areas, Franklin Park is relatively safe. The violent crime rate of 14 incidents per 100,000 people is one of the lowest in the country. Nationwide, there were 383 violent crimes for every 100,000 people in 2017.

39. Newport, Rhode Island

• Population: 24,570
• 5 yr. population change: -0.1 percent
• Median home value: $382,200
• Median household income: $59,794

Newport, Rhode Island is by far the best educated city in the state. More than half – 50.9 percent – of adult residents completed at least their bachelor’s degree. No other major Rhode Island community exceeded the state’s college graduation rate of 32.5 percent. This high educational attainment qualifies many of the city’s residents for highly skilled jobs and likely helps drive down the unemployment rate. Newport’s unemployment rate is just 3.8 percent, the lowest of anywhere in the country.

Though Newport’s median household income is close to that of Rhode Island as a whole, homes in the area tend to be much more valuable than those in the rest of the state. Newport’s median home value is $382,200, well above Rhode Island’s $238,200 median home value.

40. Tega Cay, South Carolina

• Population: 9,026
• 5 yr. population change: +23.3 percent
• Median home value: $301,200
• Median household income: $120,346

Tega Cay ranks as one of the best cities to live in part because of its relatively high income and the many associated benefits that come with affluence. The city’s median household income of over $120,000 is more than double the U.S. median. In a city with a high percentage of affluent households, there are also very few residents struggling with serious financial hardship. Just 0.9 percent of residents live in poverty.

Tega Cay lies near the border of the Carolinas and Lake Wiley. The water access gives residents a chance to swim, boat, and fish. As a tourist destination, the city has a high number of bars and restaurants per resident. Tega Cay is growing quickly. It was home to fewer than 5,000 people in 2009. As of 2016, more than 9,000 people lived there.

41. Pierre, South Dakota

• Population: 13,959
• 5 yr. population change: +2.2 percent
• Median home value: $164,900
• Median household income: $54,868

Most American homeowners spend more than $12,000 per year on housing. In Pierre, South Dakota, most spend less than $8,500 annually. Overall, the cost of living is lower in Pierre, as goods and services are 15 percent less expensive than they are on average nationwide.

Pierre, South Dakota’s capital, is home to many outdoor amenities largely thanks to its proximity to the Missouri River. Nearby Farm Island and LaFramboise Island offer residents the opportunity to take part in outdoor activities like swimming and hiking.

42. Atoka, Tennessee

• Population: 8,917
• 5 yr. population change: +11.9 percent
• Median home value: $172,400
• Median household income: $87,047

Many cities and towns on this list are in close proximity to a major metropolitan area. About 25 miles northeast of Memphis, Atoka is one of them. In addition to attractions and amenities in Memphis, Atoka itself has several parks featuring playgrounds, sports fields, picnic areas, and a fishing pond.

A safe community, Atoka’s violent crime rate of 152 incidents per 100,000 people is less than half the national violent crime rate. Safe streets and proximity to a major city make Atoka an attractive place for new residents and families, and in the last five years, the city’s population expanded by 11.9 percent, triple the comparable 3.9 percent national growth rate.

43. West University Place, Texas

• Population: 15,318
• 5 yr. population change: +4.0 percent
• Median home value: $917,800
• Median household income: $220,868

A wealthy suburb of Houston, West University Place ranks as the best city to live in Texas. A wealthy city, the median household income of nearly $221,000 a year is nearly four times the income the typical American household earns. A dollar also goes far in the city as goods and services are about 5 percent less expensive than they are nationwide on average. In addition to entertainment and culture in nearby Houston, West University has a far greater concentration of restaurants, bars, fitness centers, museums and theatre companies than is typical nationwide.

West University is also a safe city with a strong job market. The city’s violent crime rate of 64 incidents for every 100,000 people is among the lowest in the nation, as is the five-year average unemployment rate of 2.7 percent.

44. Woods Cross, Utah

• Population: 10,930
• 5 yr. population change: +15.5 percent
• Median home value: $226,200
• Median household income: $78,750

Just north of Salt Lake City, Woods Cross provides easy access to Utah’s largest city, as well as the Great Salt Lake to the west and Grandview Peak to the east. The proximity to Salt Lake City affords Woods Cross residents a short commute to the city, which may help bolster the city’s labor force participation rate. More than three quarters of Woods Cross adults, 77.4 percent, participate in the labor force, the most of any Utah community.

This high labor force participation likely helps drive up the median household income. The typical Woods Cross household earns $78,750 each year, well ahead of Utah’s $62,518 median household incomeS

45. South Burlington, Vermont

• Population: 18,704
• 5 yr. population change: +6.2 percent
• Median home value: $271,900
• Median household income: $66,728

Sitting along Lake Champlain, South Burlington is adjacent to Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. With access to a number of nearby colleges, including Champlain College and the University of Vermont, South Burlington’s population is well educated. Over half of all the city’s adult residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 30.3 percent national bachelor’s degree attainment rate. There are a range of employment opportunities in the area, including the University of Vermont Medical Center. Just 2.0 percent of workers in South Burlington were unemployed in 2017, below both the 3.0 percent state and 4.4 percent national unemployment rates.

A strong job market bolsters the financial security of area residents. Just 6.2 percent of South Burlington’s population live in poverty, less than half the 15.1 percent national poverty rate.

46. Waynesboro, Virginia

• Population: 21,366
• 5 yr. population change: +1.7 percent
• Median home value: $158,800
• Median household income: $45,097

Waynesboro, an independent city in Virginia, is notable for its affordability, safety, and scenic beauty. Goods and services in the city are about 7 percent less expensive than they are nationwide on average. Additionally, the violent crime rate of 182 incidents per 100,000 people is less than half the U.S. violent crime rate of 383 per 100,000.

Located in the Shenandoah Valley, Waynesboro offers easy access to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail. The South River cuts through the city, providing a water trail for residents to fish and enjoy by boat. Waynesboro also has a higher than typical concentration of restaurants, movie theatres, and museums.

47. Snoqualmie, Washington

• Population: 12,510
• 5 yr. population change: +28.3 percent
• Median home value: $471,800
• Median household income: $131,453

Snoqualmie, Washington, is one of the safest places in the country, with just 15 violent crimes for every 100,000 city residents in 2017. The town’s property crime rate of 1,077 incidents per 100,000 residents is also less than half the national rate.

Areas with higher median household incomes tend to have less crime than lower income areas. The median annual household income in Snoqualmie, which is within commuting distance of Seattle, is $131,453 a year, one of the higher incomes among American cities. In addition to the culture and entertainment Seattle has to offer, Snoqualmie has a higher than typical concentration of restaurants, bars, museums, and movie theatres.

48. Bridgeport, West Virginia

• Population: 8,364
• 5 yr. population change: +3.9 percent
• Median home value: $199,000
• Median household income: $80,462

In Bridgeport, 45.3 percent of adults have graduated from college, nearly the highest share of cities in the state. The high college attainment rate has likely contributed to the town’s relatively high median household income of $80,462 a year. Not only is Bridgeport wealthy, but it is also inexpensive. Goods and services are 15 percent less expensive than average in the city.

When it comes to culture and entertainment, Bridgeport residents have options. The city is home to a far higher concentration of restaurants, bars, recreation centers, golf courses, and movie theatres than is typical nationwide.

49. Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

• Population: 14,088
• 5 yr. population change: +0.4 percent
• Median home value: $350,700
• Median household income: $105,156

Whitefish Bay, a Milwaukee suburb along the shore of Lake Michigan, ranks as the best place to live in Wisconsin. The high quality of life in Whitefish Bay is partially the result of a strong job market. The area’s average unemployment rate over the last five years stands at just 3.2 percent – less than half the comparable nationwide rate of of 7.4 percent.

Whitefish Bay is also one of the safest communities in the country, with a violent crime rate of just 36 incidents per 100,000 people. For reference, there were 383 violent crimes per 100,000 people nationwide in 2017.

50. Jackson, Wyoming

• Population: 10,279
• 5 yr. population change: +7.6 percent
• Median home value: $573,400
• Median household income: $70,517

The resort town of Jackson ranks as the best place to live in Wyoming. Jackson boasts a high concentration of restaurants, bars, museums, and movie theatres, as well as access to Jackson Hole, one of the most famous ski resorts in the United States.

Incomes are relatively high in Jackson. The typical area household earns $70,517 a year, about $11,000 more than the typical Wyoming household. Higher incomes are not enough to offset the area’s high cost of living, however, as goods and services are about 35 percent more expensive in Jackson than they are on average nationwide. Housing is particularly expensive as most area homes are worth over half a million dollars.

Methodology

To identify the best cities to live in every state, 24/7 Wall St. created a weighted index of 26 measures that fall into one of four categories: affordability, economy, quality of life, and community.

In the affordability category, the ratio of the median home value to the median income was given full weight. Cities where the median home value is closer to the median household income were rewarded. Cost of living, as determined by the average cost of goods and services in an area relative to the nation as a whole, was given a full weight. Property taxes are largely levied at the local level, and cities where residents pay more property taxes as a percentage of their home value were penalized. Property taxes were given a one-quarter weighting.

In the economy category, we gave median household income full weighting. The unemployment rate was also given a full weight. We used five-year average unemployment due to lack of comparable annual data at local levels. Two-year employment growth and share of the total working age population with a job were each given a half weight, favoring areas with more and growing jobs opportunities.

In the quality of life category, the poverty rate was given a full weight, penalizing cities where serious financial hardship is more common. The share of the population that struggles to put food on the table either due to low income or distance from a grocery store, known as the food insecurity rate, was given full weight. A city’s mortality rate, calculated as the number of people who died while in hospital care per hospital by city, was also given full weight. In cases where city-level data was not available, mortality rates were imputed from county-level data.

The drug overdose mortality rate was given a one-quarter weighting, as was the hospital readmission rate, or the share of those released from the hospital who were readmitted within 30 days. Distance from the center of the city to the nearest hospital was given full weight.
Measures used in the community category include the average travel time to work, which was given full weight. The violent crime rate – the total number of rapes, robberies, murders, and aggravated assaults per 100,000 people – was given full weight. So too was the property crime rate, which is the total number of burglaries, larcenies, motor vehicle thefts, and incidents of arson per 100,000 people.

The share of commuters either walking, cycling, or taking public transit to work was given half weight. The total number of colleges in the area and the number of restaurants, bars, museums, theatre companies, movie theatres, libraries, and parks per capita were each given a one-quarter weighting.

The number of hospitalizations that would have been prevented by regularly scheduled doctor visits for every 1,000 Medicare enrollees – known as the preventable hospitalization rate – was given half weighting.

Median household income, median home value, average travel time to work, poverty rate, population, employment-to-population ratio, median property taxes paid, and average unemployment rate are all five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are for 2016. Overall cost of living is for 2014 and comes from data analysis and aggregation company ATTOM Data Solutions.

The population-adjusted number of entertainment and cultural venues like restaurants and museums comes from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns data set, and is for 2016. The number of colleges comes from the Department of Education College Navigator and is as of the 2017-2018 school year.

Violent and property crime rates are from the FBI’s 2017 Uniform Crime Report. Drug overdose mortality rates are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are for the years 2014-2016. Mortality rates and hospital readmission rates are from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and are as of June 2015. Preventable hospitalizations are from the latest release from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute joint program.

24/7 Wall Street is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

By Samuel Stebbins and Grant Suneson

From 24/7 Wall Street and USA TODAY’s 2019 Best Cities to Live List

Les Wexner Honored with McCoy Community Service Award at the New Albany Community Foundation’s Remarkable Evening Benefit

December 20th, 2018

 PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING HISTORIANS JOSEPH ELLIS, JON MEACHAM AND DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN VISIT NEW ALBANY FOR REMARKABLE EVENING 

Highlights:

  • Leslie H. Wexner honored with McCoy Community Service Award Bob
  • Schottenstein & Jeri Block with M/I Homes Foundation gift $500,000 to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund 
  • Remarkable Evening hits milestone surpassing $25 million from donors through the benefit 

NEW ALBANY, OHIO (December 20, 2018) – A capacity audience of 464 guests attended 

The New Albany Community Foundation’s 16th annual Remarkable Evening benefit hosted by Abigail and Les Wexner at their New Albany home on the evening of November 28th. The event featured a panel discussion with three Pulitzer Prize-winning historians, Joseph Ellis, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham, moderated by David Gergen, Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School and CNN senior political analyst. 

Funds raised from the event support the Foundation’s annual grantmaking to area not-for-profit organizations and to build Foundation endowments. Funds raised also support The Jefferson Series, an ongoing Foundation lecture series that features an impressive lineup of distinguished diplomats, experts on foreign policy, national security, health, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, journalists and historians. In addition to community lectures, Jefferson Series speakers have interacted with over 12,500 students representing over 20 school districts across central Ohio. 

It was announced during this year’s benefit that Foundation donors have contributed a total of over $25 million to community initiatives through Remarkable Evening events. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over $12 million in grants in support of lifelong learning, arts and culture, health and wellness and the environment. 

These grants are made possible through the support of generous donors and sponsors who contribute annually through Remarkable Evening or have established endowments at the Foundation. Contributions have also helped make possible transformational projects like the New 2 

Albany Branch Library, the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany. The Foundation presently is raising money to build the Charleen & Charles Hinson Amphitheater. 

Lead sponsors for this year’s Remarkable Evening included American Electric Power, The Berend Family and Joint Implant Surgeons Orthopedics, Huntington, Justice, The New Albany Company and Nickolas Savko & Sons, Inc. 

Several significant announcements were made during the evening: 

Leslie H. Wexner received the 2018 Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service Award 

The Jeanne and John G. McCoy Community Service Award was established by the Foundation in 2004 to recognize citizens who have made a significant impact on the community through their leadership, contributions and community service. Through their remarkable philanthropy in New Albany and central Ohio, Jeanne and John G. McCoy embodied the spirit of this award and were the first to be honored with the distinction in 2004 when it was established in their name. 

Leslie H. Wexner has been engaged in community betterment throughout his life. As Bob Schottenstein stated in announcing Wexner as the McCoy Award honoree that evening, “With his relentless focus and drive to constantly aim higher, Les found a way to harness development for the common good. New Albany is a reflection of and personifies his uncommon commitment to lifelong learning, leadership, and an informed citizenry.” 

Wexner accepted the award paying tribute to his longtime friend and Columbus civic leader, John G. McCoy. An active resident of New Albany until his passing in 2010, John McCoy and his wife Jeanne were among the first residents to move to New Albany as the community began its transformation in the late 1990s. In 2006, McCoy made a $2 million gift announcement at Remarkable Evening that enabled the construction of what was later named the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts in the heart of New Albany. 

In accepting the award, Les Wexner said, “My friend John had a great impact on how I view community. Years ago, he told me, ‘You should think about tithing in time and in resource. You should think about giving some of your time and energy to the community.’ His mentoring and coaching was transformative to me. I take this opportunity to memorialize John G. and his generous contributions to our community. He was a spectacular person and a great friend.”

Past recipients of The McCoy Award include: 

2004 Jeanne & John G. McCoy 

2005 Janet Atwater 

2006 Dr. Ralph Johnson 

2007 Bill Resch 

2008 Don Cameron 

2009 Dr. Phil Heit 

2010 The Ryan Family 

2011 Tiney McComb 

2012 Bob Schottenstein 

2013 John W. Kessler 

2014 Jackie & Ken Krebs 

2015 Jennie & Mark Wilson 

2016 Cindy & Keith Berend 

2017 Barbara & Al Siemer 

Bob Schottenstein and Jeri Block together with M/I Homes Foundation make a generous gift to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund 

The New Albany Community Foundation announced a contribution of $500,000 from Bob Schottenstein and Jeri Block together with M/I Homes Foundation to the Leslie H. Wexner Jefferson Series Fund. The fund was established by Wexner’s friends to support in perpetuity the lecture series. The gift represents the single largest gift to the fund, which has now reached $1.7 million. 

More than 12,500 students have participated in Jefferson Series student lectures 

The New Albany Community Foundation announced that as of November of 2018, more than 12,500 students have participated in the Jefferson Series student lectures, representing over 25 schools across Central Ohio. Now in its sixth season of hosting an array of speakers including entrepreneurs, best-selling authors, journalists, historians and more, The Jefferson Series opened its 2018-2019 season in September with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. 

Additionally, it was announced that the October National Security Town Hall featuring General Michael Hayden, Stephen Hadley and Samantha Power and moderated by CNN Host, Columnist and Global Expert Fareed Zakaria, reached more than 25 million people around the world when it was broadcast on Fareed Zakaria GPS. 

On January 15, actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close will speak at the Jefferson Series and then a new program in May will feature Jeffrey Toobin and Noah Feldman. This program marks the debut of a special series focusing on civil discourse and debate, envisioned by the Derrow Family. 

The remaining Jefferson Series lectures are as follows: 

SOLD OUT – January 15 – Glenn Close 

SOLD OUT – May 1 – Noah Feldman & Jeffrey Toobin 4 

*All remaining Jefferson Series forums are now sold out. If you are interested in attending either event, click here to have your name added to the waitlist. Those on the waitlist will be contacted in the order received if tickets become available. 

The New Albany Community Foundation and its donors are working together to build an extraordinary community. The Foundation develops collaborative partnerships and invests in transformational projects that benefit all residents and contribute to the greater good: developing a community of life-long learners, creating culture of wellness, enriching the community through the arts and supporting a sustainable environment. By championing forward-thinking initiatives, the Foundation and its donors have already had a significant positive impact. 

Ohio Magazine has named New Albany as one of its 2018-19 Best Hometowns

August 13th, 2018

New Albany, OH selected as one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns

NEW ALBANY, OHIO – New Albany, Ohio is honored to be recognized as one of Ohio’s best hometowns by Ohio Magazine.

Ohio Magazine annually recognizes hometowns for this award based on community spirit, education, entertainment, health and safety, business environment, and culture and heritage. New Albany is being recognized for the 2018-2019 year along with four other communities in Ohio: Cambridge, Findlay, Media and Troy.

New Albany’s unique focus on four core community values: lifelong learning, culture and the arts; health and wellness; and sustainability; made an impact on the Ohio Magazine selection committee. As a Best Hometown finalist, Ohio Magazine visited New Albany in June. “They were very interested in learning more about how New Albany embraces education, culture, leisure and health,” said Cherie Nelson, Executive Director of the New Albany Chamber, about the site visit.

Gems of the community including New Albany’s 200-acre school learning campus, the McCoy Center for the Arts and the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany were toured along with New Albany’s leisure trails, shops and restaurants.

“We pride ourselves on having a community that is aspirational,” Mayor Sloan Spalding shared, “and very strategic and thoughtful about our growth.” The ideals of New Albany drive a strong sense of civic pride and community service that runs deep within New Albany. As a master planned community, New Albany is particularly fortunate to have cohesion and collaboration of the many community groups, businesses and public partnerships that make it a special place to live, work and visit.

As part of the site visit, City of New Albany Director of Administrative Services, Adrienne Joly shared plans to transform the Rose Run Creek and corridor, overgrown with brush and invasive species, into New Albany’s central park, a civic asset to foster connections among people and with the environment. When complete in late 2019, Rose Run Park will include a bridge and promenade connecting the school campus to Market Square, dedicated bike lanes and walking trails, nature walks along the Rose Run corridor, a library garden, a bike hub, and safer pedestrian access for students.

Live Like a Local

July 25th, 2018

Top of the List: Here are the fastest-growing cities in Central Ohio

February 2nd, 2018

Think Central Ohio is growing like gangbusters? U.S. Census data bears out that perception.

In a comparison of 2000 Census counts and 2016 population estimates, 24 of the 25 cities in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties have grown.

Three have more than doubled in population.

View the slideshow at Columbus Business First »

First Look: Event center for weddings, business conferences opens in New Albany

December 18th, 2017

A new event center is opening its doors in New Albany.

The Estate at New Albany, a 15,000-square-foot event venue, opened its doors for business this month at 5216 Forest Dr. The venue is the third for the Brooks family, which owns the Brookshire venue is near Lewis Center and WatersEdge Event & Conference Center in Hilliard.

“We’re already seeing a lot of interest in reserving the space,” owner John Brooks told me.

The venue features open meeting areas with a large central event room and several side areas, including two suites for a bride and groom, outdoor patios and technology for business gatherings and working events. The interior was designed by Lisa Coleman of 6 Design.

The largest room, which is 4,500 square foot, can accommodate as many as 375 guests. The 1,900 square feet of meeting rooms can seat as many as 210.

Brooks said he expects a 50-50 mix of corporate and family events. Between weddings, bar mitzvahs and other events, the two standing venues are booked well into 2019 with an increasing number of events being held during the week.

Corporate events and weddings have increased thanks to in-house catering, event planning and other services that allow for all-in-one packages. All-day weddings – ceremony, dinner and reception – and multi-day retreats for companies are doable, Brooks said.

“This used to be a spring and summer business, but it seems like people are getting married all year long anymore,” he said.

Brooks’ wife, Joy, founded the wedding planning business that eventually expanded into wedding venues. The couple’s three children and grandchildren are active in the venue management, catering and event planning operations.

The project cost Brookshire Banquet LLC about $5 million to build out, including about $900,000 to buy the land earlier this year. Westerville’s Kleingers Group was the civil engineer, Feher Architecture LLC of Columbus was the architect and Equity Construction Solutions built the venue.

By Tristan Navera
View photo gallery at Columbus Business First »

Doc steps up to plate to establish Miracle League

October 30th, 2017

For Dr. Kevin Klingele, watching a Miracle League baseball game is an opportunity to see children in a setting that lets them escape for a little while from a normal routine of doctor visits and therapy.

“You see the joy on these kids’ faces,” Klingele said.

As chief of orthopedics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Klingele said, he was introduced to the Miracle League program through the children he has treated.

After visiting Miracle Leagues in Dublin and Grove City, Klingele was motivated to bring one to New Albany, an area that makes sense for the program because of the city’s focus on wellness and its sizeable Special Olympics organization, he said.

To prepare the community for the new organization, Klingele is planning an awareness event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, at the New Albany High School softball field. The event will include an exhibition baseball game with team members and their buddies, followed by refreshments at Wexner Community Park.

The goal of Miracle Leagues, Klingele said, is to provide opportunities for children with physical or mental disabilities to do something they otherwise typically wouldn’t be able to do — in this case, play baseball. Each nonprofit league has a special outdoor field with a surface that can accommodate wheelchairs and children with special needs, he said. Children are teamed up with teens and young people who serve as buddies during the game.

Although some Miracle Leagues have groups for youth and adults, New Albany’s league will start with a youth league, Klingele said.

Klingele, who serves as chairman of the board for the Miracle League of New Albany, said fundraising is nearly at the halfway mark to move ahead with constructing a field there. The goal is to have the nearly $600,000 field ready for its opening pitch in fall 2018, he said.

Tom Rubey, director of development for the New Albany Co., said the baseball field would be on about 6 acres off Swickard Woods Boulevard. Rubey also serves as a member on the Miracle League of New Albany’s board.

The site originally was part of 45 acres the New Albany Co. had donated to the city, Plain Township and the New Albany-Plain Local School District, Rubey said. The area now includes a district school building, the township swimming pool and New Albany High School baseball and softball diamonds.

The open 6 acres, which is city land, sit between the school building and the pool, Rubey said.

City Manager Joe Stefanov said the city is planning to lease the land to the New Albany-Plain Local Joint Park District, which in turn would sublease to the Miracle League. City Council members would have to approve a resolution authorizing him to sign a lease agreement, Stefanov said. That resolution could be on council’s next agenda Nov. 7.

Dave Wharton, director of recreation and parks with the joint parks district and member of the Miracle League board, said the parks district could assist with custodial services at the baseball field because Wexner Pavilion is nearby.

“I think this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to be a part of,” Wharton said.

By Sarah Sole
From This Week Community News

City prioritizes infrastructure with Rose Run, trails, roads

January 2nd, 2017

New Albany residents can expect potential traffic delays near Dublin-Granville Road and Market and Main streets during the summer months of 2018, according to city leaders.

New Albany’s project to refashion the Rose Run creek corridor near the city’s center should take 18 to 24 months to complete, said Adrienne Joly, director of administrative services.

It is representative of multiple initiatives that, though varied in scope and covering such infrastructure as roads and leisure trails, should improve residents’ quality of life, said city spokesman Scott McAfee.

More leisure trails will encourage physical activity, he said, and infrastructure development will promote business activity. The New Albany International Business Park ultimately supports residents through the income-tax revenue it generates, he said.

Rose Run corridor

City leaders should select a construction manager for the Rose Run project during the first three months of 2018 and the project should begin by late spring or early summer, Joly said.

Closure of Dublin-Granville Road from Fodor Road/Market Street to Main Street will be limited to the summer months to minimize disruption for the New Albany-Plain Local School District, she said.

Rose Run flows mostly parallel to Dublin-Granville Road through New Albany until it meets Rocky Fork Creek in the New Albany Country Club grounds, not far west of Greensward and Harlem roads.

Project details include reducing Dublin-Granville in width, although the road will remain two lanes. A 34-foot bridge and promenade will connect the district campus to the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Market Square.

Although a 5-mile bicycle-trail loop ultimately is planned, the first phase of the project will create a half-mile segment from Fodor Road to Main Street to the east, Joly said. The final version of the loop will feature a bike path and an adjoining walkway.

Also included in the project will be the addition of a children’s natural play area to Rose Run Park and the rerouting of the leisure trail near Rose Run to travel underneath the bridge.

Trails and infrastructure

City leaders plan to update the master plan for its 36 miles of leisure trails this year, Joly said. The plan has not been updated since 2006, Joly said.

New Albany City Council members have allocated $1.8 million for new leisure trails — a considerable amount above the typical allocation of $400,000, she said. The city will try to close gaps in trails for greater connectivity, she said.

As city leaders look to create better thoroughfares for recreation, they also are trying to ensure proper infrastructure is ready for new parts of the New Albany International Business Park.

With the Mink Road-state Route 161 interchange and the extension of Innovation Campus Way complete, more than 170 acres in the business park is available for commercial development, said Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany’s community-development director.

As a $26 million Beech Road construction project begins, the land on the west side of the road will be attractive to developers because infrastructure will be in place, she said.

City leaders hope to have the first phase of utility work completed in March and the road improvements completed in August, Chrysler said. The second phase of utilities should be finished by February 2019.

The project targets Beech Road from Smith’s Mill Road south to Morse Road, Chrysler said, and it includes trails and dedicated bicycle paths.

North of the intersection with Morse Road for about 500 feet, Beech Road will be two lanes with no median, city engineer Mike Barker said. For the next 3,000 feet northbound, the road will be two lanes with a center median, he said. From there to the intersection with Smith’s Mill, Beech will be a four-lane road with a center median, he said.

The project will be funded by tax-increment-financing-district revenue from the new Facebook data-center complex; the city also received a 1 percent interest loan from the Ohio Water Development Authority.

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism available to local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

A TIF locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting resulting incremental revenue to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.

Revenue that exceeds the locked-in valuation of the land is diverted from the entities that typically receive property-tax revenue, including school districts, parks districts, libraries and fire departments.

In 2017, the city created 1,000 jobs in the community in the fourth quarter alone, Chrysler said.

“It doesn’t appear that we will have any less success in 2018 than we did in 2017,” she said.

By Sarah Sole
From This Week News

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