Village Center

Evolution of Village Center Creates Enduring Sense of Community

Since 1998 when our first master plan was enacted, New Albany has committed to developing a dynamic Village Center, an inviting, connected, walkable hub of activity to bring people together and promote the founding pillars of education, culture, health and sustainability.

This effort was underway long before other central Ohio communities began to reinvest in in their “town centers” and “main streets” in response to market demand for pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use developments. It was the result of years of study by leading land use planners and architects to determine what creates an enduring sense of community.

In New Albany, the reinvention of Village Center is based upon smart growth policies that distinguish strong downtowns. Those that succeed employ planning and design principles that encourage compact growth, connectivity, walkability, mixed uses, versatile residential choices, sound architectural standards and sustainability.

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Planning Leverages Existing Assets

Developed with resident and business input, the Village Center Strategic Plan, established in 2006 and updated in 2014, builds upon the area’s existing assets and its traditional grid pattern that dates back to 1837. Walkable and inviting streets, civic attractions like the library and post office, as well as appealing amenities like public parks and the Rose Run Corridor Greenway are components that have laid the groundwork for a robust, thriving Village Center.

Defining the Village Center

Village Center constitutes five districts, including Market Square, the Historic Village Center, the Learning Campus and the Windsor and Ganton areas. The city is focusing its efforts on several areas for future development that provide a connected corridor for growth and ample acreage for infill developments without expanding outward. East Market Street is being developed with a greater emphasis on retail, restaurants and entertainment uses. The Historic Village Center and Ganton will feature a mix of uses with a concentration of residential and office plus retail to support residents and businesses in the area.

Building a Community Gathering Place

Market Square has been the initial focus of our efforts because of its close proximity to a variety of civic services include the learning campus, city hall and post office as well as the Rose Run Corridor Greenway. With the addition of the library and, later, the McCoy Center for the Performing Arts and the Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, Market Square has become the de facto center of the Village Center and the community’s main gathering place. There is a growing list of retail stores and restaurants to serve local residents and the city’s 15,000 employees.

Creating Rose Run Park

For nearly 20 years, the city has considered Rose Run a critical feature of the city’s Village Center that will form its “central park”, fostering connections among people and between people and the environment. When the first phase is completed in 2019, it will provide a large plaza for events, safe crossing between the park and school with a bridge across the stream bed, a library garden for outdoor activities, a wooded glen and trail with kid-friendly recreational elements and a bike hub. The second phase will expand access to the creek from other locations throughout Village Center.

Offering Diverse Housing Options

Creating an economically sustainable Village Center requires a variety of housing to provide enough residents to support local merchants and spur the additional retail growth that residents want. Approximately 81% of central Ohio’s population growth over the next 30 years will be Millennials and empty-nesters who favor pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use developments, according to insight2050, a study conducted by Columbus2020, the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and the Urban Land Institute – Columbus. We are already seeing that demand from young professionals who work in our business park and empty nesters who want to stay in our community. In response, the city has broadened the housing mix to include luxury apartments at Market & Main designed for one and two-person households without children.

Enhancing Walkability

One of the most appealing aspects of New Albany’s planning is its pedestrian-friendly design with sidewalks in every neighborhood connecting residents to each other and to Village Center. A 2017 Urban Land Institute Report on America’s Suburbs notes, “Suburbs with elements of walkability are strong candidates to attract younger households moving from urban neighborhoods as well as older households downsizing from within the suburb.”

Addressing Density through Planned Growth

According to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, “density done right can make our cities more attractive and vibrant.” Well planned and well designed, it can also increase our local tax base while providing public services more cost-effectively.  According to Ken Danter, a housing industry expert, “Density should be defined from a planning standpoint that takes into consideration components of good design – privacy, walkability, neighborhood feel, usability of outside spaces and how buildings are separated and connected.” This is consistent with our approach.

Managing Traffic and Parking

Growth comes with challenges. However, as a master-planned community, New Albany has worked with land use planners to anticipate issues related to traffic and parking. As we continue to build a more pedestrian-friendly Village Center, we are working to distribute increased traffic through a connected network of small blocks and road extensions. We are also examining the cost and viability of parking solutions based upon best practices that have worked in other communities.  Two-hour regulated parking along the streets and off-site parking lots or structures are among the solutions that have been effective in other communities. According to the Center for New Urbanism, many small-town downtowns, Petaluma (CA) for example, are discouraging new development from building parking to meet the walkability goals that support a real small-town main street environment.

Resources

View Village Center Presentation

View New Albany Presentation: Terry Foegler, Director of Strategic Initiatives, City of Dublin

View New Albany Presentation: Brian O’Looney, Design Architect, Torti Gallas and Partners  

View New Albany Presentation: Ken Danter, President, The Danter Company

View Master Planning Video

Frequently Asked Questions