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