New Albany to strengthen its core in 2022
Residents of New Albany who enjoy strolling in the great outdoors should happily welcome the coming year.
The city will update the playgrounds to five neighborhood parks – Planters Grove, James River, Byington, North of Woods and Lambton – and the Phase I finish of Taylor Farm Park, which will include 3 miles of recreational trails, a playground and a dedicated wetland section, said the city manager Joe Stefanov.
New Albany will also add to its 55 miles of recreational trails and make connections in some areas, Stefanov said.
Several construction projects are also on the horizon, including the expansion of Market Street from Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road to East Dublin-Granville Road.
“This will hopefully help eliminate some congestion that occurs during peak hours of the day,” Stefanov said.
The second phase of reconstruction of the intersection of US Route 62 and National Route 161 will begin in 2022. The result will be additional lanes, installation of sidewalks and recreational trails, he said.
The city has applied for a state grant for a new veterans memorial, which will enter its design phase in 2022. It will be next to Village Hall on West Main Street.
The current memorial is across the street at Eagles Pizza, 2 N. High St.
Residents of New Albany will celebrate their first events in the Designated outdoor cooling area, which is bounded by Market Street, East Dublin-Granville Road and Main Street. A segment of Market Street east of Main but close to Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road is also included.
Just before the end of the year, the council created DORA, which allows adults 21 and over to enjoy alcoholic beverages from specially marked cups in the designated area.
The sustainability committee will carry out its formulated work in 2021 and provide the results to a city council, which will recommend different sustainability efforts to the city council.
In the meantime, the work of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) committee will be sent to a new residents’ committee which will make a series of recommendations based on the committee’s work.
New Albany will enter 2022 with a strong economy.
According to budget approved by council on December 7, the city will retain more than $ 14 million in reserves from 2021.
The Board approved an operating budget of $ 28.4 million, with projected revenues of $ 16.25 million at the end of next year.
While the city intends to spend 16.95% more in 2022, it also expects to keep 65% of the budget in reserve.
“I’m still very tax-conservative,” said Stefanov, who also received a three-year contract extension from 2022. “We were concerned about the impact of COVID and the labor economy at domicile on our tax base.
“We haven’t fully felt that impact yet, but we expect to feel some of it,” Stefanov said. “We are in a good and solid financial situation. We are prepared to face it if we see a drop in income taxes.
Angela Douglas, executive director of Healthy New Albany, said she loved the sound of new investments in recreational opportunities in the city.
“New Albany’s beautiful parks and recreation trails connect and interweave our community in so many wonderful ways and, in my mind, the benefits of nature and the outdoors cannot be overstated,” said Douglas. “At Healthy New Albany, we’re excited to hear about the addition of outdoor recreation areas and look forward to hosting programs and events to keep people outdoors year-round.