A new comprehensive plan for the city of New Albany is expected to be adopted soon.
The 128-page plan has been in the works for about a year and a half.
Bob Barber with Orion Planning + Design presented the finished product to the New Albany Board of Aldermen on July 7.
The process to create the comprehensive plan, which is called New Albany NEXT, started with a community meeting over a year ago.
The plan captures the hopes, dreams and desires for the future of New Albany, said Barber.
“New Albany is an exceptional community in our part of the world,” Barber said.
He added that there is more “energy and vibrancy” going on in New Albany compared to many other places.
“The comprehensive plan sets the tone and tenor, the general direction for the community over time,” he said.
Moreover, he said having a comprehensive plan is of economic importance when it comes to issues such as attracting industry.
“What you have done is very important,” he said. “You have a quality product in my opinion.”
The plan came from a great community-driven vision, he said. There were multiple input sessions and an advisory group that helped develop the plan.
The plan will also guide how commercial areas of the city should be developed so that they remain vital and attractive over time.
Furthermore, the plan can help when it comes to redeveloping historic areas. It also guides how the corridors will appear when people enter the town.
“There’s lots of impacts that the plan has,” he said.
Barber noted that the Tallahatchie River is a unique feature for New Albany that some other communities do not have. Focus areas of the plan include the riverfront and downtown, the Carter Avenue corridor, historic neighborhoods and new neighborhoods. The health and wellness district, which includes the area around the hospital, is another focus area.
The Carter Avenue corridor provides a key access to New Albany’s downtown from Interstate 22, the plans says. It “sets the tone and impression for visitors,” the plan says.
The plan looks at land use and how different parts of the city should be developed. It sets forth 12 New Albany planning principles, such as preserving the city’s historic core and enhancing recreational opportunities.
Other principles include connecting the city to the riverfront, enhancing the appearance of gateway corridors and conserving environmental lands.
People can look at the plan and get a sense of where New Albany has been and where it wants to go, Barber noted.
The first step is for the Board of Aldermen to adopt the plan, said Barber. That is expected to happen next month. The planning and zoning commission has already recommended that the plan be adopted.
Barber added that the plan puts the city of New Albany among the top-tier communities of its size in this region.
“You’ve done good work,” said Barber. “You should be proud of it.”
Information on how to implement the plan is also included. The plan should be used as a guide in all development decisions.
Barber’s group will also rewrite the city’s zoning code.
A link to the plan can be found at NewAlbanynext.com.